Seeking outside help for short sales, REOs

Part 2: Controversy over distressed-property fees

Alex Charfen is co-founder and chief executive officer of the Distressed Property Institute — which has trained a number of in-house transaction coordinators and bestowed its "Certified Distressed Property Expert" designation on about 12,000 agents and brokers who have completed its courses.

He is leery of third-party companies that offer to act as short-sale negotiators and make "outrageous claims about their closing percentages," and those that "claim do be national processing centers for foreclosures."

And he said consumers shouldn’t have to foot the bill for participating in short-sale transactions.