The number of real estate brokers authorized by California regulators to collect advance fees for negotiating loan modifications and short sales on behalf of homeowners has grown from less than two dozen in mid-November to almost 600.

California requires real estate brokers who negotiate with lenders to enter into agreements with borrowers detailing the services they will provide if they plan to collect their fees upfront. Fees collected in advance are placed in a trust account can only be drawn down as services are performed.

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