Assume we are the attorneys for the seller of a short sale property:
1.We charge a "LOW" upfront minimum fee (think hundreds, not thousands).
2. We usually put the short sale package together. If the deal fails, the low upfront fee is all we get as payment. The upfront fee does not come close to compensating us for the time spent putting the file together (too bad, so sad).
3.The bulk of our fee is paid by the bank. We request Y, but the bank usually cuts our fee to X. What do we do? We accept what we get from the bank and the low upfront fee as full payment.
That's how we handle short sales. However, I have heard of attorneys requesting full payment, or a retainer upfront. Requesting a retainer from a client is not, per se, illegal.
Ideally, each attorney will charge what he/she thinks is reasonable compensation for his/her services. It's up to the potential client, not members of a Q&A forum, to decide if the attorney's services are worth the requested fee.
All the best!
Robbie L. Vaughn, Esq.
East Islip, NY 11730
I work very closely with attorneys and I know that they usually charge a retainer fee. Basically put when you hire an attorney they will draft a retainer agreement that explains the nature of their representation and how much it will approximately cost for them to represent you. In your case they may tell you that a standard attorney fee for a closing may cost approximately $3,000 but they will require an upfront retainer deposit. That deposit will then be applied against your final bill. In most real estate transactions you should ask for a flat fee arrangement, so you will have an idea as to how much it will cost upfront. Usually your money is returned to you if your transaction does not go any where, less the attorneys' time.
Refer back to your retainer agreement.
Licensed Real Estate Agent
In short you will be paying the attorney a lot of money just trying to find someone that will talk to. The attorney will have very little clout when talking to the bank. The attorney is great for legal issues but a short sale is not a legal issue, it is more a procedural issue.
The key things is to make sure :
the offer to purchase is through a 3rd party that is making a independent offer
The mortgagor is not receiving any funds
There is a hard ship on the borrower
There are limited assets by the borrower to incur the lost
There is proof that value has reduced
First Weber Group
Certified Distressed PRoperty Expert
If you paid the fee within the last 3 days - I believe you can get your money back, according to state law - but don't quote me! That could just apply to cars and fancy TVs.
The link below is the New York Chief Administrator for the Courts Phone Number for disputes with attorneys - and you will get your answer immediately - here's their 800 number as well (877) FEES 137 Do this NOW - the best of luck Meredith Kurz LSA CBR CHMS EPRO
I am fairly sure it is legal, I would say ask an attorney but I don't think he will like the question. However most short sales are handled by Realtors. I am sorry that you went that route, I hope the attorney does a good job for you.
Best of Luck
Without knowing all the facts, I can only suggest that you speak with the attorney if you don't agree with the upfront fee. Remember, you can always fire your attorney. However, he/she may be entitled to payment for services rendered. Good luck!
Robbie L. Vaughn
Attorney at Law