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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Short Sales: Arm’s Length Transactions

by Calculated Risk on 2/11/2010 08:43:00 PM

One of the key problems with a short sale is making sure the buyer is an unrelated party; "an arm’s length transaction".

I'm aware of a property being offered as a short sale in SoCal where the agent is the wife of the owner, and she has been, uh, unhelpful to some prospective buyers. I just heard last night that the lender has reached a short sale agreement with a buyer who just happens to be a close friend of the agent. Why am I not surprised? Perhaps this is the best deal for the lender, but I have my doubts.

Jim the Realtor has a "rant" about another agent who apparently took a short sale listing, never put it in the MLS, and then - apparently after getting a short sale agreement - put the listing in the MLS for a few minutes because the lender required a copy of the listing ... I have more doubts about this being the best deal for the lender.

I don't think either of the above deals meets the HAFA requirements. Of course both of the transactions above are not HAFA short sales.

And remember Jillayne's discussion of the Short Sale Negotiator? Under HAFA, those fees have to come out of the real estate commission:
The amount of the real estate commission that may be paid, not to exceed 6% of the contract sales price, and notification if any portion of the commission must be paid to a contractor of the servicer that has been retained to assist the listing broker with the transaction.
Finally, I'd suggest HAFA go a step further and have the lender hire the real estate agent for short sales and deed-in-lieu transactions, not the owner. I think there is too much incentive for under-the-table payments to the current homeowner, aka short sale fraud.