Is it legal for a realtor to charge the buyer a non-negotiable fee for a short sale?

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Is it legal for a realtor to charge the buyer a non-negotiable fee for a short sale?

We are going to buy a home. One of the home we have most interest in is a short sale. The real estate agent holding the listing has told our agent that we must pay an non negotiable fee of $4,000 in addition to the short sale price. Since the seller’s agent isn’t working for us, what could the fee be for and why does the buyer have to pay it? What does the buyer get for that money? I’ve searched the internet and get a hazy view of it’s legality.

Asked on February 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The problem with you having to pay as the buyer a non-negotiable fee for the short sale is that such a payment could be a RESPA violation under federal law if the loan you are getting is a federally insured loan. My concern is that the request that the buyer pay a fee to buy the short sale property is an unearned fee that could be in violation of RESPA and HUD guidelines.

Typically the seller of a home (even in a short sale) pays the real estate fees for the transaction for the lisitng agent who in turn per an agreement with the selling agent splits the commission received in a certain percentage.


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