“Why should I pay someone to fill out some forms when I can do that myself for free?” When I was a workout officer, the same thought crossed my mind when consultants got involved. After putting together countless SBA Offer In Compromise packages, I can say with certainty that I do add lots of value to the process. Which certainly includes the preparation of paperwork, but also includes a methodical thought process. This greatly increases the odds of approval.
When completing the required forms, it’s not enough to simply complete them. Complete them in a way that fully supports your argument. Just to be clear, I am NOT saying that you should change the facts to support your argument. The presentation of facts in the right light does matter. When clients attempt the SBA OIC paperwork on their own, very rarely do I see it prepared in the fashion that I’d recommend.
In general, when clients attempt to complete the paperwork themselves, I get one of two variations:
1) The Half-Hearted Attempt
When asked to fill out paperwork, some people approach it with the attitude that the forms don’t really matter. As if filling out the paperwork is a nuisance. Given all the money at stake, it’s unclear to me why someone would take this approach, yet it still happens. They do things like “guesstimate” account balances, and leave whole sections blank. When it comes to explaining the offer, they make blanket statements such as “I’m broke” or “I don’t make much money”. When you make such a weak effort, it’s apparent to your banker and the SBA when you aren’t making a serious attempt at stating your case for a settlement. As a result, they won’t take the offer seriously. Also, when you “guesstimate” figures, it’s fairly obvious that the figures you are presenting are not accurate.
2) Quantity, Not Quality Info
Many borrowers have the sincere desire to be thorough on the OIC paperwork, but they end up doing what I refer to as “brain dump”. Not knowing exactly what the focus of the OIC argument should be, the client writes a short novel about their situation. The problem with that is your banker doesn’t have the time or inclination to read a short novel. With 100 other files to deal with, bankers want a clear and concise explanation, not fluff. Writing a lengthy narrative results in important facts getting buried beneath reams of irrelevant ramblings.
In summary, the benefit of working with a SBA workout expert is that an expert can ensure that your OIC paperwork is thorough, concise, and comprehensive. They will include all the facts you need, leave out the ones you don’t. I always tell clients that preparing an OIC is like renovating your kitchen. Sure, you could do it yourself. But if you hire an expert it’s likely that the final product will be of higher quality.