Is It Legal For A Lender To Give A Phoenix Short Sale Agent Distressed Seller Leads?
More and more, we are hearing of lenders "partnering up" with certain big-name real estate brokerages and designations (i.e. CDPE). Most of the blogs that I've read recently talk of a program whereby certain lenders will send a letter to a homeowner in distress, and will give them a list of several real estate agents that carry the CDPE designation. The borrower may, if they so choose, call one of the "preferred" agents of the lender. Several of my Phoenix short sale clients have received these letters and simply throw them in the trash. In most cases, they have already received horrific service (i.e. failed loan modification) from their lender, and the last thing they want to do is use someone that comes recommended by them. I took the CDPE course in 2008. While it's a great foundation for someone new to the short sale world, I have a real problem with the last word of CDPE (Expert). I've seen the list of "recommended" agents they have sent out, and I can tell you that many of them have yet to close a short sale transaction. Yet, they are "experts".
Personally, I don't have a problem with banks giving a homeowner a list of names to choose from. No rules broken here, from what I can tell. What I DO have a problem with is a phone call I received yesterday from a potential Phoenix short sale client that was referred to me...
After spending about 30 minutes on the phone with this gentleman, he told me that he was contacted last week by a Phoenix short sale agent. The agent told him that his lender (MetLife) had contacted him and asked that he contact the seller regarding the possible short sale of his home. He knew that the seller had not made a payment in several months, told him what he thought he could sell his home for, etc. The seller has been in constant contact with his lender, and has discussed various loan modification options with them over the past several months.
I have a MAJOR problem with this. What gives the servicer (MetLife) of an FHA loan the right to contact a real estate agent and divulge personal information regarding their standing on their loan? As we all know, the first step in any short sale transaction is to get a 3rd Party Authorization signed by the seller, allowing them to talk to our Phoenix short sale agents about their loan. Obviously, in this case, the seller NEVER gave MetLife permission to talk to ANYONE about their current financial situation.
I think MetLife crossed the line on this one, and I hope this isn't a sign of what the future will bring in regards to the handling of information like this. Any thoughts on this? Is the lender out of line giving a Phoenix short sale agent distressed seller leads? Methinks so!
P.S. The seller decided to list with me, as he was not happy with the way MetLife handed out his personal financial situation to a real estate agent he'd never met. Who could blame him?