Short Sale Credentials

Do Short Sale Negotiators Need A Real Estate License? What about a Law License?

California Business and Professions Code 10131 sets forth those activities that require a real estate license. Subsection (a) refers to selling and buying and negotiating the purchase or sale of real estate. Subsection (d) refers to negotiating loans or performing services for borrowers or lenders in connection with loans secured by real estate. If your real estate agent is using a third-party short sale negotiator, that negotiator is conducting licensed activity under either 10131(a) or (d). Thus, that person needs a valid, active real estate license in order to conduct those activities.

In the Fall 2008 Mortgage Loan Bulletin, the DRE explains on page 1: Unless otherwise exempt, a real estate license is required to solicit, market, or provide loan modification, SHORT SALE and other loss mitigation services that involve the negotiation or renegotiation of the terms of a loan or sale of a property. A real estate broker who pays a non-licensed short sale company that is performing licensed activity, or even a licensed company that is knowingly paying an unlicensed individual who is performing licensed activity, may be violating Business and Professions Code section 10137. Violations of 10137 may lead to the suspension or revocation of a real estate license.

The DRE goes on to state in the same Bulletin referenced above: Licensees have a duty to determine that the company is properly licensed (or has a bona fide exemption). The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has advised the DRE that referral fees paid or received in a loan modification transaction would constitute a violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Although the statements are made in the context of a loan modification, there is no reason to believe the same approach would not apply to a short sale, which in fact also involves a modification (reduction) of the loan in the context of a sale. A short sale is also the settlement of the mortgage default. Therefore, the language included in the short sale approval is the equivalent of a legal settlement. Those terms can only be reviewed by a licensed attorney.

A real estate license is a bare minimum requirement, but it is far better and much more protective for homeowners to have an Attorney/Realtor® representing them in a short sale transaction. With Lawyers Realty Group, homeowners are assured full and complete protection of their interests throughout the short sale process to help them begin their financial recovery.

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Attorney Real Estate Expert


LAWYERS REALTY GROUP is an attorney owned and operated real estate brokerage that was formed to help level the playing field between struggling homeowners and the banks who are threatening them with foreclosure, eviction, deficiency judgments, and collection actions.

Unlike traditional real estate agents, loan mod companies, bankruptcy attorneys, litigators and others who aggressively market their particular one-size-fits-all solution regardless of a homeowner’s future liability and financial well-being, Lawyers Realty Group provides clients with a customized analysis of their options, free legal counseling and clear direction on how to best resolve their particular mortgage issues – all without charging fees to the homeowner.

Derik N. Lewis, Esq., is the founder and president of Lawyers Realty Group. Derik is a California real estate attorney and a licensed Realtor® . He graduated magna cum laude from Boston University School of Law and has nearly 30 years of real estate experience. For more than two decades as an attorney in private practice, Derik has represented California homeowners with difficult real estate matters. Derik previously served as legal counsel for some of the world’s largest lenders including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase (he knows how they operate and how to work within their systems to help you achieve the best possible outcome). He is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Southern California School of Law speaking on real estate law, brokerage and litigation.

Professional Associations

  • Admitted to all State and Federal Courts in California
  • California Bar Association
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • National Association of Realtors
  • California Association of Realtors
  • Orange County Association of Realtors
  • California Regional Multiple Listing Service

No Cost Services

Free legal analysis of all of your options, including how to limit or eliminate tax and deficiency liability.

Complete representation for the option that best suits your situation, whether you need assistance in reviewing a loan modification, filing bankruptcy, seeking a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, pursuing a planned foreclosure or selling in a short sale.

Free Bankruptcy filing in the BK/Short Sale package.

Free legal review and fraud analysis of all solicitations from the bank, real estate agents, lawyers or others.

Free and complete short sale representation including MLS listing, marketing, negotiation, deficiency waivers and closing. You need an Attorney/Realtor® to provide legal leverage and fully protect your interests.

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