May 12, 2010

Avoid Short Sale Fraud

Charlotte Short SaleThe California Department of Real Estate issued a consumer alert recently advising homeowners considering a short sale to beware of fraudulent practices.  Specifically, the report notes instances in which homeowners were improperly charges fees or received misguided advice during a short sale.

(With the number of short sales on the rise, it is critical to fully understand a Charlotte short sale transaction.  We have several posts related to working with a Charlotte realtor on a short sale on our website which can help you better understand a short sale transaction.)

The DRE alert identifies several items that homeowners should consider when engaging in a short sale negotiation.  Although the report applies to homeowners in California, several of the key take-aways in the alert apply to homeowners regardless of the state they reside in.

The DRE stressed that homeowners must make sure that their short sale negotiator is a licensed real estate broker (or a licensed real estate salesperson working under the supervision of licensed broker).  If you have any questions about why you should work with a realtor, please see our post on working with a Charlotte realtor.  It is also important to confirm that all processors and negotiators involved in the short sale transaction are licensed.  Don’t hesitate to ask for someone’s license.

Also, the DRE report noted that payments should be fully disclosed, and payments should be part of escrow documents.  If you work with anyone who suggests fees should be paid outside of escrow, this is likely illegal and should be a red flag.

Lastly, the DRE alert warned that if the buyer is a fictitious person or LLC, it is possible that fraud is involved in your transaction.

While the alert from the DRE may make you hesitant to get involved in a Charlotte short sale transaction, the risk can be significantly mitigated if you work with licensed real estate professionals.  By working with professionals that have a record of success in short sale transaction, you will ensure a successful and legitimate transaction.  If you are considering a short sale in North Carolina and have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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