#1 There are serious legal and tax issues involved in a mortgage default and short sale settlement. A real estate agent is not legally allowed to analyze, evaluate, discuss or negotiate your legal liabilities and tax exposure or explain how “dual tracking” might expose you to liability. You are left unprotected and financially vulnerable.
- You need to know whether California Code of Civil Procedure 580e applies to your loans and protects you from deficiencies and collection actions after a short sale. You need advice on whether Internal Revenue Code Section 108 applies to you so that you are immune from the cancellation of debt taxation resulting from CCP 580e.
- You need to know if your mortgage is covered by California Civil Code Section 2923.4 and if you have the protections of the Homeowner Bill of Rights.
- You need to know whether the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 applies to your situation at all. There is a significant difference between deficiency judgments and cancellation of debt taxation. This is widely misunderstood by non-lawyers and can expose you to significant liability.
#2 The Residential Purchase Agreement and Short Sale Addendum provided by the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) are WHOLLY INADEQUATE to protect your interests, but they are the only documents a real estate agent can use in a short sale.
- Real estate agents are BARRED BY CALIFORNIA LAW from drafting or revising ANY contract provisions. You are stuck with the standard forms unless you hire a separate real estate attorney to review all the documents and draft new addendum language. The ethical rules of the National Association of Realtors require real estate agents to refer all short sale clients to an attorney for advice and counseling.
- Lawyers Realty Group drafts a Custom Contract Addendum that protects you from the bank and the buyer in the short sale. Our proprietary short sale package includes deal-specific, attorney drafted documents that “fix” the problems in the C.A.R. forms and provide exceptional protection tailored to your particular situation.
- The C.A.R. form Short Sale Addendum used by real estate agents actually exposes you to additional liability. That form states that you may need to “sign a personal note” for the amount of the outstanding debt. That language would constitute LEGAL MALPRACTICE if included by a lawyer.
#3 Real estate agents who “team up” with attorneys may be violating the law. This is a marketing ploy for real estate agents. Those attorneys are not able to represent your interests in this illegal business structure. This is an incurable conflict of interest.
- Attorneys who are “associated” with brokerages, or who “negotiate” short sales, do not protect your interests. Those attorneys are hired by the real estate agent. They get paid by the real estate agent, and they represent the interests of the real estate agent. They are NOT your attorney in the transaction. They don’t represent you.
- An attorney that is merely “associated” with a real estate brokerage will not file litigation to stop a foreclosure, let alone do it for free. Those types of attorneys represent the real estate brokerage, NOT YOU. They are ethically barred from bringing litigation on your behalf.
- With Lawyers Realty Group, the brokerage is owned and operated by a real estate attorney and you have a DIRECT legal engagement letter with the attorney. The employees of Lawyers Realty Group are all licensed under the Attorney/Realtor®. This proprietary structure gives you the HIGHEST LEVEL OF PROTECTION in a short sale. Don’t settle for anything less than direct representation.
#4 Real estate agents receive less qualified offers on short sales than an Attorney/Realtor®.
- Buyers will not make an offer unless they are sure the transaction will close and the home will NOT be lost to foreclosure. Real estate agents can’t provide such assurances and therefore they don’t get the most qualified buyers.
- Real estate agents would have you believe that selling the home is the hardest part of a short sale and that you need their “special” real estate skills to get the home sold. However, finding a buyer is the easiest part of a short sale for us. Lawyers Realty Group has a database of interested buyers and employs extensive and highly successful marketing campaigns.
- Buyers know that an Attorney/Realtor® will get the transaction closed, whereas a traditional real estate agent has no tools to ensure a closing. Real estate agents have no options if the bank simply won’t complete the short sale OR if a junior lien holder refuses to cooperate. They cannot make legal threats to the bank to bring leverage on your behalf. They can’t force the lender to stop the foreclosure process or push an approval onto the second. We can.
- An Attorney/Realtor® can stop the foreclosure. We can threaten legal action, and we can sue the lender to secure a Temporary Restraining Order against the foreclosure action to gain leverage to complete the short sale.
#5 Real estate agents can’t evaluate, analyze or discuss bankruptcy issues or options. You need to know if bankruptcy might help your situation BEFORE YOU COMMENCE A SHORT SALE.
- You need to understand the difference between Chapter 7, 11 and 13 before you sign a listing agreement or commence a short sale. You might be giving up important legal protections.
- You must evaluate the NEGATIVE legal and tax implications of filing bankruptcy AFTER a short sale is over. You will be exposed to extreme risk if you file bankruptcy after a short sale is closed.
- You need to determine whether you can extend your time in the home under the automatic stay during bankruptcy. There are a number of methods to extend the automatic stay to get the most time in the property. Real estate agents cannot advise you in this regard and have no ability to assist during the process even if they could.
THE ATTORNEY/REALTOR® SHORT SALE ADVANTAGE
By far, the highest level of service and protection
Your lender has a lawyer. You should too!