I recently had a Fort Walton Beach FL Short Sale approved by Washington Mutual (WAMU). In this case, WAMU was the junior lien, the first was Citi Mortgage. There was enough from the sale proceeds to satisfy Citi’s mortgage balance, so the only approval necessary was from WAMU. As with all Short Sales, we know to provide a preliminary settlement statement (HUD) with the package to the seller’s lender. This is a guide upon which the lender bases its approval. As a rule and for the sake being conservative, I instruct the title agent preparing the HUD to overestimate the prorations. Why? In Florida, property taxes are paid one year in arrears, so there is typically a credit from seller to buyer at closing. (In some other states, property taxes are paid in advance.) So in order to prepare for a long-delayed lender approval, I may use a closing date four to five months out. The settlement statement will show the seller crediting a higher amount of taxes to the buyer. That way there won’t be a last-minute problem with proceeds to the Short Sale lender being too low to meet the amount on the approval letter. They will usually get more than their stated approval amount using this method. The same technique applies to condo or association fees, or other prorations. If there is a problem meeting the exact approval amount because prorations are off, normally Short Sale lenders understand, and will issue a revised approval letter with adjusted figures. I don’t like taking the risk, so I choose to overestimate.
Now, back to Washington Mutual. In the Fort Walton Beach Short Sale, WAMU asked for the payoff amount from Citi (the first) to be used exactly in the preliminary HUD. Unfortunately, the Law Office of David Stern, who was handling the foreclosure on this Citi mortgage, would only provide a payoff for a month. WAMU issued its approval letter about two weeks after receiving the payoff. The buyer took four more weeks to close. The payoff to Citi increased- of course. The HUD was redone prior to closing, showing a now-lesser amount to WAMU. WAMU did not care. They were immovable. They refused to adjust their approval amount even with proof of the new figure required to satisfy the first mortgage. Guess who paid the difference? I lost some respect for WAMU that day.