Now that the FTC has once again exempted real estate agents from the MARS disclosure act, some agents and services are once again charging up front fees. These fees range anywhere from $500 – $2,000 to assist a homeowner through a short sale or a loan modification. In North Carolina, its illegal to collect up-front fees on loan modifications but short sales have not been included in that ruling yet.
Attorney’s may charge up-front for their time if assisting on a short sale file. Once a notice of hearing has been filed in North Carolina, the file can only be negotiated by an attorney or the homeowner themselves. Real Estate Agents are prohibited from negotiating at that point.
Important to note that help is available for absolutely free and that up-front payment offers no guarantee of success.
I have never charged up-front fees and maintain a 90% success rate as one of the Charlotte areas short sale real estate agents by number of units sold per month. Unfortunately, not every short sale will be successful. Some are too close to foreclosure to allow time for processing, a contract, and the closing. In other circumstances, a third party like a mortgage insurance company will make the seller a lousy offer that the seller refuses to take and it makes sense to just walk away.
If you are seeking a mortgage modification, it is imperative to your success to work with a HUD-housing counselor, who will assist you in obtaining a modification at no cost. The number to the HopeNow hotline is at the bottom left of this page.