By Jim Anzalone
This blog post is somewhat lengthy.  Please know that it ends well.
Well qualified buyer wants to buy an expensive house in West Seattle.
First lender says it can fund the loan in 45 days.  Then the lender reverses its earlier OK just two days before closing.
Listing and Selling agents keep everyone calm and negotiate a seven day extension.
Wells Fargo rescues the financing and funds the loan in five days.
Buyer closes the transaction.
Buyer happy.  Seller happy.
Agents are heroes. 
Wells Fargo gets a double gold star. 
Sheryl Knowles, my wife, has been selling real estate full time for 24 years in the Seattlearea.  I have been in the real estate industry full time for 14 years.
Sheryl helped an US citizen who spent his 30 year corporate career working in Korea, Japan, and finally in China.  He recently retired as the CEO of China operations for a US-based multinational corporation.  In additional to a stellar corporate career, the client was also significantly involved in philanthropic endeavors hosting events with folks to include Hillary Clinton and former WA Governor and now Ambassador Gary Locke.  A Google search on his name finds many, many positive entries about this individual.  In short, he’s no slouch!  And he has significant financial capacity and resources.
He and his wife decided to return to the US and to live in Seattle.  We were honored to help them find a home here.  Their home search ended when we located a beautiful West Seattle home with a spectacular view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.  We put in a strong offer which included a pre-approval letter from the first lender.
The listing agent, Lori Braseth with John L. Scott, sells a significant number of West Seattle homes.  She is a real pro.  When we presented the offer to her, she asked permission to contact the buyer’s lender so she could reassure her sellers the buyer was well qualified to buy this particular home.  “Of course!”, Sheryl said, “Please do so.  The buyer is pre-approved and very well qualified.”
We suggested the buyer use this particular lender since it advertises itself as a specialist in working with overseas-based, high net worth individuals.  Importantly, they pointed out that their loans are portfolio loans, meaning they keep the loans in their portfolio rather than selling the loans on the secondary market.  That is an important point since their underwriting standards are more flexible.  Oh, if it were only true.
Lori’s conversation with the lender reassured her the loan could be closed in 45 days and the buyer was well-qualified for a loan as large as the one contemplated for this purchase. “Good”, Lori said.  The sellers accepted our offer.
The buyer provided all of the documentation requested by the first lender.  He even answered some pretty strange inquiries, demonstrating a great deal patience to questions such as “Why are you returning to the USA?’, and “You said in your letter you complete your UStax returns as an expatriate basis.  How does that affect dual citizenship?” 
In the end, just two days before the closing date, the first lender notified the buyer they were denying loan.  This, after weeks before they had verbally indicated the loan was about to be approved.  Even the lender’s regional VP commented that they could have performed better.  Ya’ think?
We now had two days before the contract expired.  It was a Wednesday night.
Lori, the listing agent proved she is an expert in handling crises.  The sellers had written contracts on TWO homes, dependent on the closing of their home.  And the seller’s of thosehomes also had written contracts. 
Lori successfully negotiated a one week extension for all of the properties.
Thursday morning found me on the telephone with Shelia Fleming (, the VP at the buyer’s Wells Fargo Private Bank division.  As a VP she coordinates his asset holdings.
She suggested a solution whereby Wells Fargo might be able to extend his line-of-credit so that he could then buy the house as a cash transaction. “Whoa! That’s a lot of money”, I said to Sheila.   Then, subsequent to the closing, he could get permanent mortgage financing with Wells Fargo’s Private Mortgage division.
“Ummm … Shelia”, I cautioned. “It’s Thursday.  We have to close in seven calendar days.  It sounds great, but is it doable?  Really?”
“Yep, Jim.  This is what we do …. Magic”
Buoyed by this ray of hope, I said, “What do you need and when do you need it?”
Sheila coordinated with Jane Quintance ( who is the Head Underwriter at Wells Fargo Private Bank.  Jane agreed to work Saturday and Sunday to review the documents to ensure the buyer’s line-of-credit could be increased by such a significant amount.
After struggling with the first lender who balked at providing the buyer’s documentation, I finally received hard-copies of said documentation on Friday night at 7:30 PM. 
Jane received the documents very late Friday night.  Yet, by Monday afternoon, the line-of-credit was expanded.  Whew!  We had the cash to close.
The buyer wanted assurance that he would be able to convert the short term financing into permanent residential financing.  Swinging into action again, Sheila called upon her VP counter-part, Janell Beck (, at Wells Fargo Private Mortgage.  Janell reviewed all of the buyer’s documentation and by Wednesday had concluded the buyer did, in fact, have more than sufficient financial capacity and resources.  She was able to issue a pre-approval letter confirming her findings.
Bottom line … Wells Fargo rescued the transaction and wired funds to the escrow company on Thursday.
The escrow company recorded the transaction on Friday.
Buyer relieved. 
Sellers acquired their houses.
The next-in-line sellers and buyers conclude their transactions, too.
Wells Fargo Private Bank.
Lori Braseth and Sheryl Knowles