Checklist for Florida Short Sale Brokers FTC MARS Compliance

Sandestin short sale agent

On February 25, there was a stir in the Florida real estate world.The Florida Association of Realtors issued an alert that, yes, we must comply with the new Federal Trade Commission Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (FTC MARS) ruling.

 

Previously, there was much Florida Realtor confusion about FTC MARS.When I initially inquired, the FAR attorneys said we were covered by the Florida Chapter 494 Opinion Letter. Since we help sellers with short sales in the normal course of listing and selling homes, as long as there was no upfront fee, there was no need to change our procedures.

That changed last week. FAR issued a directive that Florida Realtors must comply with the new MARS FTC ruling.Whoa!Scramble.

1.Add the following language to my websites and email signature, since I actively help consumers with short sale listings: “IMPORTANT NOTICE: Rulnick Realty, Inc. is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan. If you stop paying your mortgage, you could lose your home and damage your credit.”
2.Send out letters with a MARS FTC listing addendum to ALL my current short sale listings, to comply with consumer specific commercial communication.We are allowed to use our own company letterhead instead of the FAR letterhead, which I did.Each envelope had a self-addressed stamped return envelope to make it easy for my sellers.

 

3.Change my Short Sale Approval Acknowledgment form to include language from bothFTC MARS Disclosure for Offer from Lender I and FTC MARS Disclosure for Offer from Lender II

 

4.Call an Office Meeting to discuss the FTC ruling with my agents
Prohibited claims
The MARS Rule prohibits mortgage relief companies from making any false or misleading claims about their services, including claims about:
  • the likelihood of consumers getting the results they seek;
  • the company’s affiliation with government or private entities;
  • the consumer’s payment and other mortgage obligations;
  • the company’s refund and cancellation policies;
  • whether the company has performed the services it promised;
  • whether the company will provide legal representation to consumers;
  • the availability or cost of any alternative to for-profit mortgage assistance relief services;
  • the amount of money a consumer will save by using their services; or
  • the cost of the services.

5. Prepare an MARS FTC Office Policy addendum to my independent contractor agreement for my agents

I completed my changes in a day. The Florida Association of Realtors legal department made it easy.

It’s Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.

Call toll-free 1-877-ITS-WNDY (1-877-487-9639) or local 850-650-7883 ext 204

Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Destin FL Real Estate

Destin Short Sales & Pre Foreclosure Help.

Read Wendy’s Destin Real Estate Blog

Subscribe

Get new posts emailed to your in-box

Trackbacks

  1. […] the months of dealing with the over-the-top FTC MARS disclosures may be coming to an end for Florida short sale agents.  The FTC, in its role of protecting […]