Real estate's new intermediaries

Part 1: Controversy over distressed-property fees

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With distressed properties accounting for a greater percentage of sales than ever — more than half in some hard-hit markets — agents and brokers who have never handled a short sale or bank-owned home may find themselves feeling left out if they don’t jump on the bandwagon.

But many real estate professionals who do specialize in short sales warn that it’s a business of risks and rewards, requiring skill, connections and patience.