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High Counter Offer from bank in short sale

We put in an offer on a house in Vadnais Heights about a month ago for $170 and the bank just counter offered for $200k. The sellers owe about $220 on only one mortgage. Other houses in this neighborhood are currently selling for around $185-200k, and the house we put the offer in on is "worth" $175k.

Is it steep that the bank counter offered for $200k, in this case? They NEED to have an accepted offer by August 15th (today is August 1st) or the house will go into foreclosure. What are our options? What should we counter offer?
  • August 01 2012 - Saint Paul
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Answers (23)

I stand corrected!  After further research, I have found that some lenders consider BPOs to be good for 30 days, while others use 60 days or 90 days.

Also found out that even though many use BPOs, some do use appraisals.

I guess its just the luck of the draw that I've happened to work with deals that used BPOs and 30 day timeframes.

Learn something new every day in this business...

Thanks for making me think about this again Christopher...

Hope I didn't confuse you too much Michelle.


  • August 05 2012
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Who told you it was "worth" $175K?  Is this a Homepath managed foreclosure property?  Homepath is handling many (if not all) of the FNMA properties that have gone into foreclosure.  If it is, you should consider several things that I as a Realtor did not consider when doing CMAs.
1.  Supply and Demand in the area
2.  Length of time on the market
3.  Stats on like properties even if they are not in the immediate neighborhood. 
I went round and round with a property and when I was finally hit over the head with a building -- I got it.  My buyer and I moved on and they ended up buying another property.
If it is not a Homepath managed property and you really want this house then make your best and final offer - meaning that you offer the maximum you can and then if they do not accept it just walk away. No more back and forth with great expectations. Do it and be done with it.
Advice bites sometimes but a foreclosure is not always easy because you are not always dealing with someone who is looking out for the best interest of the property or the neighborhood nor that understands the current sales  in your neighborhood.  They are looking at a great collection of statistics on a computer.
  • August 02 2012
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Ok Patti I gave you a thumbs up that answer made a ton more sense to me good job!

And thanks for the response Michelle I understand the situation a little bit more now. 

1) There is nothing wrong with throwing the Hail Mary what do you have to lose at this point? Nothing really. You are not messing around looking over by Heritage Park. I live about 2 minutes from that location and it is...well a really good spot ha! You may or may not know but there are tons of trails and things to do for the outdoors all around that area and I run them all the time and love it!

2) But just so know without even looking inside that Split I would have valued it at 190k. With a bank counter at 200k I think we could have reasonably gotten the property for that number. If they accept your counter then by golly I need to be in a different field.

3) Problem is you are saying your max budget is in the 170's. For Vadnais Heights many of the bigger splits are going to hover between 185-220k depending on Lot, floor plan, and condition. You can get some OK splits in Vadnais Heights at your budget but you should look at the 3/2's around 1600-1700 square feet. Of course there are other areas where you can get more house for the money, but I just know in Vadnais Heights this is exactly what I would tell my buyer. 

4) So what I am telling you is that a Realtor's job is to make sure you are looking at homes within your budget. You did nothing wrong it does not sound as if the realtor provided a CMA at the time of offer, but I don't believe an offer should have ever been made on this home knowing your budget is in the 170's. I could be wrong, and no realtor can be EXACT on our valuations, but we should always be within 5-10k.

5) List price is at 190k and if I had represented you I would have said we need to be prepared to pay that number and offer 175k as an initial number. Anyways, it gives you an idea of how to approach the next house. 

6) FYI I know the listing agent, and although I don't like to ever speak negative he has a very bad rap. He screwed this one up big time. 

7) I think Patti really answered your question about an REO situation. It may not feel real good right now, but you will find another home that will work for you. I do get that question asked from buyers, but there are just too many unknowns to wait for months on this home to turn over. The truth is I can't give you a number and no one knows for sure when it will come on the market. If I am correct on my valuation it will come on the market at current list price or even higher, so you would not be able to afford it anyways.

8) You just need a new game plan and I promise you will be very happy with the result. I am still praying to god I am wrong and the bank accepts your offer, but if they don't take this time to re-evaluate the situation and come up with a new strategy so the next time around will be a home run. 
  • August 02 2012
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Thanks!  And don't dispare!  There are plenty more "fish in the sea".  And who knows, you might even find something better in the meantime.  There are always new listings coming to market.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!
  • August 02 2012
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Patti, thanks for the response! And I am so sorry, I did know that it was you that figured out what property it was. I misspoke when I gave credit to Rita. Sounds like this is our last shot, and if they reject the offer (which is seems they probably will), then we'll just have to wait. That's the hardest part. Thanks again!
  • August 02 2012
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I was actually the one who figured out which property it was.  I also negotiate my own short sales (we don't use 3rd party negotiators) and when it comes to if a BPO and an Appraisal are the same, they are very similar, but the big difference is the price paid for an Appraisal is usually quite a bit more than what is paid for a BPO.

It is possible to purchase the property after the redemption period from the bank, but each bank is different and some are almost impossible to work with until it gets relisted as a bank owned property.  I've had better luck with smaller banks in that situation.

The amount of time it can take after the redemption period varies depending on the situation.  Each entity that has an interest in the property adds to the timeframe.  If there are any leins, that will cause it to take a little longer.  And some banks are faster at clearing the title than others.  In general, I'd say about 2 months is average.  Some banks, like TCF may even take time to rehab the property to some degree.

Buying after the bank has taken posession of the property and re-listed it is generally much easier and quicker than a short sale.  But there could be a lot of competition depending on the list price.

I am appalled that the comparables used were from North Branch.  That's just silly!  There should be plenty of nearby comparables in that area.

And yes, I generally do Interior BPOs, but occassionally I am asked to do exterior BPOs as well.  An exterior BPO is not as good because there is no way to tell what the inside is like, but if done carefully, they can be of some use.  Some banks will do both.  Most of the lenders/valuation companies that I work with will request a new BPO after 30 days, not 90 days. 

Quite a bit of difference can exist between different lenders / asset manager.  There is no one set process and that is the crux of the problem.
Many of my short sales tend to be with the bigger banks. 

Also some of the confusion could come from the fact that there is a lender on the Buyer's side and a lender on the Seller's side.  One of the points I made might have been confusing because I failed to mention that I was talking about the Seller's side.  Sorry about that...

Anyway, it sounds like your best course of action now is to watch this property and try to catch it when it goes back to the bank or when it is re-listed as a bank owned property.  Or keep looking because as fall approaches, things tend to slow down a bit.  You might be able to find something just as nice in that same area.

Thanks much and I hope we didn't confuse you too much... 





  • August 02 2012
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It is possible to purchase the property after the redemption period from the bank.  Each bank is different and some are almost impossible to work with until it gets relisted as a bank owned property.  I've had better luck with smaller banks in that situation.

The amount of time it can take after the redemption period varies depending on the situation.  Each entity that has an interest in the property adds to the timeframe and some banks are faster at clearing the title than others.  In general, I'd say about 2 months is average.  Some banks, like TCF may even take time to rehab the property.

Buying after the bank has taken posession of the property and re-listed it is generally much easier and quicker than a short sale.  But there could be a lot of competition depending on the list price.

I am appalled that the comparables used were from North Branch.  That's just silly! 

Quite a bit of difference can exist between different lenders / asset manager.  There is no one set process and that is the crux of the problem.
Many of my short sales tend to be with the bigger banks. 

Also some of the confusion could come from the fact that there is a lender on the Buyer's side and a lender on the Seller's side.  One of the points I made might have been confusing because I failed to mention that I was talking about the Seller's side.  Sorry about that...

It sounds like your best course of action now is to watch this property and try to catch it when it goes back to the bank or when it is re-listed as a bank owned property.  And as fall approches, the market changes, you might be able to find something else just as nice in that same area within your price range.

Thanks much and I hope we didn't confuse you too much... 
  • August 02 2012
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Thanks to everyone for all the great insight and information.

Rita is right, the property is the three level split listed on Bramblewood. The sherriff's sale did take place on March 16th, and therefore the redemption period is over on Sept. 16th. I misspoke when I said that the property will go into foreclosure on August 15th. This leads me to Chris's response, requesting clarification. From my understanding, our counter offer (which we submitted this morning for $173k) needs to be accepted by August 15th in order for the 30 closing to happen on or before Sept. 15th, the day before the end of the redemption period. The listing agent wrote up a statement (forgive me for not knowing the technical term) with supporting facts for this offer of $173k. We found out last night that the comps were done on houses in NORTH BRANCH! The listing agent included comps for houses recently sold within a mile or so of this property.

I know that the likelihood of our offer being accepted is slim now, but we are really keeping our fingers crossed.

I now have another set of questions for you local professionals. If our offer is not accepted/the redemption period ends for the property/property goes back to the bank, would it be possible for us to attempt to buy it from the bank at that point? How does that process work? Won't we be up against a ton of other people? Also, how long after properties go back to banks does it typically take for the bank to list it? I'm not familiar with how the whole foreclosure thing works when buying.

Thanks again to everyone who has offered their advice! It has tremendously helped!
  • August 02 2012
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What on earth...Haha these responses are just nuts! Look I am going to help you out here. Not only do I live in Vadnais Heights currently and know this market blind (not like it is that big of a city anyways hehe) which you will want a market expert on your team for negotiations, but I also specialize in short sales. 

And I negotiate my own short sales. I don't pay some stupid 3rd party company to do what I should know and negotiate the file. You can't "specialize" in short sales and only work with buyers. That is backwards, because the only way to understand them is to list. 

1) I would need to know the lender, but IN GENERAL once a seller has sent in a complete file it gets assigned a negotiator. From there a negotiator orders a "BPO" which to you should be considered an APPRAISAL. I don't understand what planet Patti is on but that is just unnecessary confusion and not needed. Yea and appraisal and BPO are different to us Realtors, but you are really splitting hairs with a buyer when this stuff is already confusing. And no a lender will not order an appraisal after acceptance they will give you a payoff letter.

All that you should understand is that a BPO is meant to give a valuation of the property.

2) Those BPO's are good for 90days not 30days, unless something has changed which is always possible. What is important for to know is that depending on the lender you of course have options!

3) Every lender is different, but just about every one of them will accept a certain percentage of that valuation. You also need to know if there is MI (mortgage insurance) on the property, and if they are asking any type of terms out of the seller. Promissory notes, cash to closing, etc...

4) PRICE is really just one piece to the puzzle. Sure the seller NET is huge for the investor, but the terms are just as deadly.

5) All that matters in the end is can we find COMPS that support your counter. If we can't then you will not get the home, because although people may think short sales are great amazing deals they almost always sell at a fair price. 

6) If we can find COMPS then the listing agent can of course fight the BPO. Heck, I have had to fight just about every BPO that has ever come in! I need:

- COMPS from the past 90days supporting the counter
- Pictures of property and list of repairs if it is in disrepair
- Showing history and feedback

These are just some things a listing agent can do for you to help fight a BPO. 

7) Since Patti does BPO's she should know that there are DIFFERENT types of BPO's. For example, on homes that I knew were super ugly inside I always made sure a full interior BPO was done on the home. Not just the wimpy drive- by's those are worthless BPO's. 

8) So I can absolutely request that a 2nd BPO be done on the property. Although in one instance GMAC just came down to my number once I provided all the necessary information without even doing another BPO. It all depends on the lender.

9) I can go all day. There is a whole escalation process you can do as a listing agent to go above the negotiator. I have gotten all the way up to the VP before just to get a deal done. Biggest thing I have learned negotiating short sales is don't take NO for an answer. Once again it is all about supporting your offer.

10) From there I would ask you to clarify "the foreclosure comment for August 15th". If they truly needed an offer by then it would be because they are at the end of the redemption period, and if it was truly the 15th I just wasted a whole lot of typing. You need 30days minimum to close after an accepted offer and the payoff comes in, so the end of redemption would need to be at the end of September most likely.

11) What I think you mean is that the 15th is the sherrif sale. If that is the case I would welcome it! Bring it on baby, because we still got 6months after that. 

12) Once again Patti is on a different planet then me, because I don't understand what she is saying. The length of redemption period has no bearing on short sales, but what is important is knowing that we are a "NON-Recourse State", and that once the sheriff sale happens a homeowners rights change relative to pre-sherrif sale.

13) Basically the lender has no leverage with the seller. If they don't accept the short sale they can not pursue the seller after redemption.

I have gone into a lot more depth than necessary, but hopefully I have cleared some of the confusion on this post for you and others. 

If you understand the short sale process on the listing side you understand what is happening and how to come up with solutions. I think as a buyer that is what you want: TO SIMPLY UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON AND HOW TO SOLVE IT!

Yea I could easily help you this is my backyard, but I am not going to solicit your business. You have a contract with a buyer agent that you can get out of because they obviously don't know what they are doing, but it is not our place as Realtors to tell you to fire someone.

If you decide to do that yourself our profiles are right on Zillow.

~Chris
  • August 02 2012
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Interesting Rita!  We don't have commissioners sales and I thought there were only 2 states with 6 month redemption periods.  Minn and Mass.  I've learned something today too!  Thanks for the information on Kentucky!
  • August 01 2012
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Profile picture for Rita Walker
Patti,
You made me do some reading about MN. Thanks for the education.
Our redemption is not shorter that yours, but when ours goes to the commissioners sale the owners rights of redemption are most definitely different.
Our short sales happen prior to commissioners sale.
  • August 01 2012
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Lenders and banks are very often forced to adjust their procedures for Minnesota in order to be compliant with our laws and/or to save themselves money because of our long redemption period.  We are also a table closing state, not an escrow state, so that throws another monkey wrench into the works.

We do tons of short sales in our office, and it is extremely rare for a lender/bank to order an appraisal prior to approval of the short sale due to the cost and the likelyhood that they will have to perform multiple appraisals before closing.

In Minnesota, Buyers are required to pay for their appraisals up front.  Sometimes, they will get reimbursed at the closing table, but not always.
  • August 01 2012
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Patti,
I understand your point.
However, we are dealing with many of the same banks which are not in Minnesota.

  • August 01 2012
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Rita, you simply don't understand the laws and times frames in Minnesota.

It is highly unlikely that the lender/bank will pay for an appraisal until AFTER acceptance, due in part because we have a 6 month redemption period.  If the Buyer wants to do an appraisal in order to come up with their counter-offer price, then it will be at their own expense.

Minnesota law is very different.  I'll stay out of Kentucky if you stay out of Minnesota - OK?
  • August 01 2012
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If you are talking about the three-level split on Bramblewood Ave, the Sheriff's Sale took place on 03/16/2012.  That means that the End of the Redemption period is 9/16/2012 and the sale must be closed by that date.

In other words, if this is the house, it has already gone into foreclosure. 
  • August 01 2012
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Patti,
The buyer does not pay for an appraisal! The bank does! No, not a BPO!
Seems to me if the buyer wants to counter, he should.
The response told you 200000. was out of his reach.
Not all banks nor bank negotiators do business the same way.
You are making generalizations.
I have never seen a buyer get a better deal on the same house they were bidding on as a short sale unless they were investors. By the time that home comes back to the market as a foreclosure, most owner occupants have moved on to buy other homes. Not to mention the home, many times, is in disrepair..
At this point the  even the Listing Agent should be working every possible angle to get it sold. After all, in a couple of weeks they will lose that listing.
As I said, the best negotiator is the winner!!
  • August 01 2012
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Please, be a little bit careful about the advice posted here from agents who are in a different state.  Kentucky has a much shorter redemption period and the short sale process down there is completely different from ours here in Minnesota.  FYI, I have successfully closed short sales in Vadnais Heights Minnesota.

  • August 01 2012
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Profile picture for Rita Walker
Throw it back at them, but do it immediately. Again, give reason to support your price.
The bank's negotiator has to get the approval from different channels and that can take time.
Good Luck!!!
May the negotiator win!!!
  • August 01 2012
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For the most part, in a short sale, the bank's counter offer is the only price they will accept for at least the next 30 days.  If you want the house and don't want to wait or take a chance on losing it, then your only real choice is to accept their counter offer.  Making a counter offer on a short sale is a waste of time and effort because it will simply be rejected or ignored.  Having an appraisal done is a waste of your money at this point in time.

As part of the process, lenders have a Broker Price Opinion (BPO) done and that is what they use to determine the price.  The agent performing the BPO is required to select at least 3 similar recent sales and 3 current active listings and use those sales/listings to come up with the BPO price.  That price will stand for at least 30 days.  However, after 30 days, the lender will generally order a new BPO and that is often done by a different person.  A subsequent BPO can go up or down, depending on the comparable listings and recently sold properties in the area.  

If the house is going into foreclosure, SOMETIMES that can actually help your situation because the rules of the game change significantly after the Sheriff's Sale.

I specialize in short sales and foreclosure but I also perform BPOs for multiple valuation companies/lenders/asset management companies.  I work primarily with Buyers and many of them have purchased short sales. 

I always perform my own BPO on a property before we even write the Purchase Agreement.  That way I know exactly where we stand before we put pen to paper.

You might want to ask your Agent to do a BPO for you and see where the number come out.

I'm just trying to clear up some of the inaccuracies I noticed in this Q&A.  I am NOT attempting to solicit your business or promote myself.

I hope this information helps you!
  • August 01 2012
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Profile picture for Michelle721
Hi Rita, we want this house really bad! I know we're not supposed to get attached, and we're not supposed to show our enthusiasm, but it's hard! However, we can't afford $200k, which is what the bank counter offered. So we're stuck. We are thinking of counter offering that counter offer with $176k, and that would be our max.
  • August 01 2012
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Profile picture for Rita Walker
Your agent may want to request an appraisal on the home from the lender.
If the reasons are given to the lender as to why you believe the home is worth less than the others in the area, they may order the appraisal. I have had it done on two of my short-sales. One price was lowered while the other was not (that home is still sitting with no buyer).
Now, having said that, if they are actually that close to foreclosure there may not be enough time to do anything more than give them what they are asking.
How bad do you want this home?
  • August 01 2012
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Thanks for the response, Joe! The thing that worries me right now is that our agent doesn't specialize in short sales. I feel uneducated on this process, and I have read about all these things that can go wrong with short sales, many of these things being out of our control, of course. When I asked our agent what he thinks would be a good counter offer in this situation, he said, "Well, I don't know... I guess I can take a look at the market and see if I can come up with something." Maybe I misunderstood him, but I feel like he expects us to come up with the answer and a reasonable counter offer. We are just so lost.

We want to increase our chances of our counter offer being accepted, but don't know where to being. I read your profile Joe, and I see that you specialize in short sales and foreclosures. We are thinking about losing the current person we are working with in favor of someone who specializes in short sales. At this point, would it even be possible for us to ditch our current agent, cancel this deal, get a new agent, and submit a new offer on the same house?
  • August 01 2012
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You can counter offer what ever you would like.  Typically you would counter offer at the highest price you are willing to pay for the home, but chances are you won't get anywhere.  A lot of times common sense goes out the window....Hopefully the listing agent can "talk some sense" into the asset manager, but I wouldn't hold your breath.  The best thing you can do is take the advice of your realtor (provided they are well versed in the short sale game)  Please give me a call if you aren't under contract with an agent and I will be more than happy to share with you everything I've learned about short sales and foreclosures over the last 11 years.
  • August 01 2012
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