Impact 5: Short sale taking close to a year to go to closing

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - Bobby Brown and his wife Monika are all moved in to their new townhome in Riviera Beach.

"We're first time homebuyers," Bobby Brown said.

But it's not actually their home. They're just paying rent, still waiting to close, after signing a contract last August.

"It was advertised as a quick sale. 'Need a cash buyer for a sale now.' We were there right there. Your buyer walked, we were there two weeks later. It was already approved. Why couldn't they just take the money and everybody be everybody," Brown said.

Victoria Coyne from Trident Title, the company representing the seller in this deal, said it's not that simple.

"It's always up to the bank. We are at their mercy and their time frames. Sometimes they want to order another broker price opinion or an appraisal when they're not set on the price," Coyne said.

The Browns said they have already agreed to two price increases, upping the deal $5,000. And they just learned they could face a third increase.

This spring the loan was service released to a new lender. It can happen without warning and puts all prior short sale agreements in jeopardy.

"We may or may not have to start the short sale over from the beginning," Coyne said.

That means the bank could name a new price. A major concern for the Browns, who moved-in in February and put thousands of dollars of work into the townhome.

"We signed a contract, we've been abiding by the contract," Brown said.

But Coyne explained the bank isn't party to the contract they signed. It's only an agreement between the buyer and seller in which the seller will ask the bank for an agreed upon short sale price.

"You really can't push the banks.  It's a decision for them to release them from that deficiency," Coyne said.

But she advises buyers to stay on top of the seller. In the Brown's case, Coyne said it took several months in the beginning for the seller to submit all proper paperwork, pushing back closing times, and leaving the loan vulnerable to be sold to a new lender.

Experts also advise buyers not to move into a property before closing or start making improvements.

A representative from the new mortgage lender said the company doesn't comment on specific loans, but is in communication with the Browns.

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