Wow! 1.5%! That's the highest I have heard. In my opinion this is quite a ripoff, either by the listing agent, themselves, or some company that the listing agent has aligned themselves with, to get the job done.
Some enterprising real estate agents, and even a couple of very large local companies, have set up a "Short sale negotiating department" which does all the negotiating work - which can be substantial - to guide a short sale through a lender's system, and who then charges a separate fee for this "extra" work. In addition, there are separate companies set up strictly for this purpose.
The problem is, this is an outdated process, which usually ends up costing the buyer more, with very little benefit.
More and more of us Realtors now engage the services of an attorney driven loss mitigation company which provides two extremely important services. First, they don't charge the buyers or the agents a fee to guide through a short sale successfully - INSTEAD, charging the lender - and usually getting away with it, due to the perceived threat of a potential lawsuit.
Secondly, the transaction is then made more "bullet-proof" because the legal aspects of the short sale - which can be numerous - are then dealt with by an attorney, rather than muddled through - probably exposing agents, or the seller - to serious legal ramifications, possibly years down the road.
While this is probably not an option in the case of THIS property, you might have your agent tell the listing agent that you prefer to use your own, legally based negotiating company. Unfortunately, the listing agent probably won't agree, because they might be getting either the entire added fee, themselves, or getting a kick-back from the company that is doing the work.
There are a LOT of scams out there right now - many of them being done by unscrupulous real estate agents. Be careful with what paperwork you sign.
If the property is a good deal, even including the fee, then go for it, but in my humble opinion, such a fee usually makes it less of a deal. Good luck to you, in finding solutions.