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7/02/2010

Beware of Short Sale Sharks

Why are short sales attracting all the sharks and crooks? Short Sale Fraud is the Real Estate Industry’s most recent shame. It is number one white collar crime being investigated by the FBI.


Short Sale fraud now occupies the time and energy of fourteen states Attorney General and their staffs to prosecute. The reasons are simple. The owner of record is usually in a dire financial situation after often a year or more of trying different solutions, only to learn that the value of their home has decreased more, they owe more, and the negative equity number is larger.



How can you avoid being ripped off by con artists? Don’t come back crying that you were taken advantage of by a subprime lender who worked part time at your local bar, to find out he now is a short sale negotiator expert. Don’t pay any short sale negotiator up front fees. Check the license and the track record of a real estate agent or attorney. Be in charge of your own destiny and in the loop of all emails and information submitted to your lender or lenders.

Shop the fees and compare before you agree to using an escrow, title or closing attorney. Fees vary greatly and junk surcharges are padded into costs. Don’t pay illegal fees outside of escrow. Read everything you sign. If you do not understand it, do not sign it until you do. Items submitted to your lender are like your permanent record, you do not want to send them anything more than they need and you do not want to lie. This is why it is important to have an agent who is honest, smart, organized and knows about financial institutions

Straw buyers and house flipping are not easy fix solutions. If it seems too good to be true –run. If the buyer of your home is using a standard lender the lender isn’t going to allow flipping. A short sale negotiator who misrepresents the market value of a property to a homeowner's lender by submitting low ball offers on the property from an affiliated straw buyer is a crook. After the home is purchased below market value, the fraudsters immediately flip it and pocket the difference.



A title or a class on the subject does not certify anything. Short sale negotiators and agents use titles including debt negotiator, debt resolution expert, loss mitigation practitioner, foreclosure rescue negotiator, short sale processor, short sale coordinator and short sale expeditor.



This is a paperwork intense process. If you are somewhat good on the computer is can be easy. Get a right fax. Fax to yourself all the documentation and keep in a folder so you can easily email copies to anyone. Many of these items can be download for free and “saved as”- label each one. This is a partial list of what you as a homeowner need to prepare:

1. complete copy of your current credit report.

2. online tax bill from your county recorder

3. copy of your fire insurance policy

4. homeowner association bill

5. Paycheck stubs

6. w-2 and 2009 tax return

7. actual bank statements not just online printout- go to the box for a statement

8. Prepare a detailed hardship letter

9. go online and look at comparable sales for your home- find three houses close by sold in past 100 days with similar square footage

Add up the numbers-

1. I owe : $

2. I can sell for $

3. I make $





Shop for your agent. This is a person you want to talk to regularly and come up with a team strategy to help you move on. Ask friends and family and persons you trust for someone who is: honest, organized, and willing to work hard. Having negative equity is not the end of the world. It is outside your control that the value decreased. If you lost your job, are getting divorced, someone is ill or deceased, or you must relocate for a job these are beyond your planning and good intentions. Planning again for getting back on your feet in the best method for your individual life takes some thinking.



Nothing too good or too bad lasts too long the key is to have grace, honor and a clear head in both.


Top fraud states courtesy FBI: California is number one.

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