It sounds like you were the victim of a scam. For starters, it is illegal for a broker to collect an upfront fee for assistance in a loan modification. You mention several different parts to your situation that â€œsmell badâ€ including short sale listing â€œkept in short circlesâ€, Brokerâ€™s advise to hold off on filling a bankruptcy , and advising you to stop making mortgage payments. A broker should always advise you to get legal advice from the appropriate professionals, such as an attorney so you can make informed decisions. You should have started with a good understanding of all your options and the potential consequences. I would need to know all the facts to render an opinion on the degree of wrongdoing or malpractice committed by your broker and the merits of your position. You should consult a good real estate attorney. If the broker is a RealtorÂ®, you have a good first option. You could file a complaint with the local board of realtors, where the Realtor is a member. The Realtor boards have a grievance committee that can determine how well-founded your complaint is and how many articles of the Realtorâ€™s code of ethics have been breached. Most Realtors are ethical and professional and put their clientâ€™s best interests first, but like any profession, there are a few bad apples out there. Another problem is that some agents are honest, but unconsciously incompetent and donâ€™t even know they are doing something illegal, giving bad advise and/or creating poor results when good results were possible! Here is the best analogy: An auto mechanic is very honest, but he is not competent enough to diagnose the problem with precision, so he uses a â€œprocess of eliminationâ€ replacing the wrong parts at your expense, until he finds the one bad part! You are no better off than if you choose a â€œcompetentâ€ dirt-bag, that intentionally does over-kill work on your car to jack up the price! Best of luck!