Beware of Short Sale Scammers

Because of the large number of short sales and because they promise to remain strong for the next five years, they are the perfect playing field for unscrupulous scammers.
Unlicensed “Short Sale” negotiators are approaching homeowners in distress and asking for upfront money to negotiate with lenders. This is illegal. Only attorneys and licensed brokers can ask for money up front – and only after the Department of Real Estate approves the agreement with an individual seller.
These “so called” Short Sale negotiators, including some real estate agents are lowballing offers to overwhelmed banks. This is called “flopping.” The home is then flipped to a waiting buyer for a much higher price. Beware when you are asked to use one of these “floppers” title companies. This could be a clue you are involved in a flop.
Another practice that is happening with regularity is that often the holder of a 2nd mortgage on the property is demanding extra money outside of escrow in a “secret deal”, because they don’t want the primary lender to know. If you don’t play ball with them they will refuse to approve the sale. It is out and out blackmail and extortion. The government really needs to crack down on this practice.
Some homeowners, especially savvy, well-off owners who owe far more than their houses are worth, are hiding savings and income to persuade lenders to agree to short sales. Many can afford their mortgages, but know it will take them years to recoup their 2006 values.
If someone asks you for money to negotiate a Short Sale, you should probably look elsewhere for help. HELP IS FREE! There are many well qualified people who can help for free. Look for an agent who holds a CDPE or SFR designation. These agents have been trained to help you through the process.