Beware foreclosure rescue scams, "big brother" IS watching

By
Real Estate Agent with Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. BK627826

With the real estate market and general economy the way it is, more and more predators have come out from under the rocks.  Last year I blogged extensively on the Florida Foreclosure Rescue law FS 501.1377 that went into effect 10/1/2008.  This was Florida Attorney General McCollum's baby and since it went into effect he has been aggressively going after violators. 

   

I was fortunate enough to go with a group last Fall and actually meet one-on-one with the Attorney General so that we could discuss concerns about this new law.  The AG was quite open with us and stated that the main people he was targetting were people that are charging upfront fees to stop a foreclosure.

Fast forward to now.  According to an Orlando Sentinel article this morning, the AG's office is investigating 40 firms around the state for violating this law by charging upfront fees.  There is a proposed bill in the Florida legislature HB 1181 that would amend the law to exempt attorneys and title companies from the law and allow them to charge upfront for services rendered.  However, what about real estate brokers???

I called the Florida Association of Realtors and specifically asked them if they had any plans to get real estate brokers and agents exempted from this bill as well.  I was actually surprised with their response.  Their response was that real estate brokers were intentionally not exempted because the AG's office does not want them charging upfront fees for foreclosure services like short sales.  Whoa! Not cool!  

I asked the same question to the local Orlando Realtor association's attorney just yesterday, and he gave me nearly the exact same response.  I mentioned to him that I know several Realtors that charge upfront retainers before they will do a short sale.  His response to me was that if a lis pendens is recorded then he believes this is a clear violation of FS 501.1377.  Whoa again!

The moral of all this is be very careful.  I've said it dozens of times already.  The real estate and mortgage industry is under heavy scrutiny right now. 

If you don't think someone will not be looking back a year or 2 from now at a transaction you did in 2009, then think again.  Dot all your I's and cross all your T's.  The penalty for violating FS 501.1377 is $15,000 per offense.  Ouch!  Be careful where you tread. 

And if you want someone who will aggressively work to sell your short sale or foreclosure home, give our office a call.  Our office sold over 100 foreclosure properties in 2008 and many more are on track to close ths year.

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(Copyright © 2009. Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. All rights reserved.)   Subscribe to my blog via RSS feed.

Rob Arnold - Your full service and investor friendly Realtor ® in Orlando and Central Florida.

ABR, CPL, CRB, CSP, GRI, Managing real estate broker, Notary Public

407-389-7318 / 1-877-389-7318 www.SDRhouses.com   We Buy Houses Florida

We sell foreclosures, short sales, and bank owned REO properties throughout Central Florida. We sell and list Central Florida real estate and Orlando real estate. Free list of foreclosure and short sale houses available.

I also provide flat fee MLS listings, For Sale By Owner, and menu-based services in most parts of Central & South Florida, the Space Coast, and the Treasure Coast including Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Ocoee, Winter Garden, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Longwood, Winter Springs, Oviedo, Lake Mary, Sanford, Deltona, Debary, Deland, Mount Dora, Eustis, Clermont, Kissimmee, Winter Haven, Lakeland, Tampa, Sarasota, Bradenton, Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Port Saint Lucie, Melbourne, Daytona Beach, Ocala, Gainesville, Palatka, Jacksonville, Volusia, Brevard, and more. 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Charles Fischer 04/07/2009 08:20 AM
Topic:
Home Selling
Groups:
All Things Florida
Florida Realtor® Network
Florida Rain Makers
Short Sale REALTORS®
Florida Real Estate Investors
Tags:
central florida foreclosure
orlando short sale
orlando foreclosure
florida foreclosure fraud law
fs 5011377

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Rainmaker
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Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing

Interesting post.  This just means that Real Estate Brokers as a group are not enough to band together and fight for what is best for them and the consumer.  Banks often cut the real estate agent out so the net effect is an increase in foreclosures.  Just Bogus.

Apr 02, 2009 09:18 AM #1
Rainer
47,255
John Secor
EXIT Real Estate Results - Winter Springs, FL

Rob - its a slippery slope we must all navigate cerefully.  I haven't heard of any agents locally charging an up front fee but I'm sure it happens. 

Florida=the scam center of the universe!

 

Happy closings,

John

Apr 02, 2009 09:19 AM #2
Rainmaker
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Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

Kate- It is disappointing that FAR isn't doing something about this.  It is almost like a restraint on free trade in my opinion.

John- I know dozens of them that were charging upfront fees prior to 10/1/08.  I still know quite a few that will charge a retainer if the lis pendens hasn't been recorded yet.

Apr 02, 2009 12:28 PM #3
Ambassador
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Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

We are having the same problems in California. It is so frustrating to see folks go down the wrong path. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Apr 03, 2009 02:13 AM #4
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Rainmaker
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Rob Arnold

Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F
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