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Wells Fargo Clarifies Short Sale Criteria for Foreclosure Postponement

By: Carrie Bay

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) issued a notice this week explaining Wells Fargo’s new rules surrounding short sale transactions when a foreclosure is pending.

Earlier this month, Wells Fargo advised NAR that it has modified its existing guidelines to allow the postponement of a scheduled foreclosure in connection with a short sale, but only in limited situations.

NAR explained that for loans owned by Wells Fargo, including those inherited with the bank’s Wachovia acquisition, as well as other loans serviced by Wells Fargo but owned by an investor, the policy allows for one fore-closure postponement, but only if: (1) Wells Fargo has a short sale sales contract in hand that has been approved (including approvals from junior lien holders and mortgage insurers, if applicable), (2) the buyer has proof of funds or financing approved, and (3) the short sale can close within 30 days of the scheduled foreclosure sale.

However, Wells Fargo noted that not all investors allow for such postponements and stressed that in jurisdictions where the courts will not approve the delay, the postponement policy will not apply. Wells Fargo told NAR that it is willing to address situations that do not qualify under these guidelines on a case-by-case basis.

Last month, it was reported that Wells Fargo had stopped delaying foreclosures in order to give distressed homeowners time to complete short sales. But as NAR outlined, the foreclosure timeline can be pushed back for a short sale as long as Wells Fargo’s specified criteria are met.

NAR has been holding meetings with the nation’s four largest lenders, including Wells Fargo, to address concerns about their processes for short sales and REO disposition. The trade group’s talks with the banks are ongoing, but NAR has indicated that the discussions have been productive in fostering mutual success and support for a market recovery.