According to the Indiana Association of Realtors (IAR Advocate 11/06/09), it is now Indiana state law that lenders must acknowledge short sale offers within 10 days. Under the 2008 law, lenders then have 30 days from receipt of the offer to accept or reject the offer.
There is an on-line complaint form that can be filed with the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). The DFI uses the complaints to track and establish patterns with certain lenders and use regulatory authority to investigate.
Additionally, the Homeowner Protection Unit of the Indiana Attorney General has enforcement authority over the complaints. The complaints should continue to be filed with the DFI, with the field that the Homeowner Protection Unit should investigate marked (Field #18 on the Indiana complaint).
We repeatedly hear from agents that the reason short sales do not move to closing is that it sometimes takes the sellers months to respond to offers.
I strongly suggest that every agent check and see if their state has a similar law on the books and let the lender know you know about it when submitting a short sale offer. I know somewhere on our future short sale offers will be a sentence requesting a response by a certain date “per Indiana Statute” as a reminder to the lender that there are statute imposed time limits in place. This would also do to notify the lender of the time limits if they were not aware of them.
Perhaps we can use our state laws to move our short sales along and keep them from becoming “long sales”.
I also strongly suggest that agents working with lenders as short sale reps make their clients aware of any local or state laws of this nature. Be aware that just like a like a REO AM, the short sale AM is most likely dealing with properties in multiple states and jurisdictions and it is our job to protect them and make sure our clients are within the local laws.