Legal Updates

buyer signing disclosure

Disclosing and Documenting Before Closing

Document All Client Advisories about Third-Party Experts Do you advise your clients in writing to consult with third-party experts before closing? And if you do, do you document it in the client’s file? If you want to reduce your risk of a real estate lawsuit, the answers should be yes and yes. I’ve defended manyRead More

house with utility pole easement

Real Estate Agents: Understanding Easements & How to Minimize Liability

Easements are a non-possessory right to use land or a portion of property belonging to another person. Failing to recognize and educate clients as to the existence of any easements can curtail an otherwise routine real estate transaction and potentially lead to litigation. An easement may exist in one of two forms: affirmative easement orRead More

paper with withdrawn stamp

How to Withdraw Counteroffers to Prevent Real Estate Lawsuits

The good news is that you’ve gotten multiple offers on an open listing. The bad news, you accidentally sent out two counter-offers. What should you do? One of our clients faced that exact situation. Our client realized that this put the seller in a potential situation of being under contract to sell to two buyers,Read More

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Scam Alert: The Latest Schemes Agents May Not Know About

In real estate, we’re still seeing numerous cases of wire fraud – and now we’re seeing some new types of fraud.  In the past six months, we’ve seen some new scams affecting hundreds of homebuyers. These scams may involve fraudulent listings, fraudulent escrow companies, and fraudulent listing agents. Under these scams, the perpetrators have goneRead More

agent advising agent about firpta

How to Advise Buyers of FIRPTA When Purchasing from Foreign Sellers

Many real estate agents representing buyer clients have come across properties being sold by a foreign person — or someone who appears to be a foreigner. You may be unaware of the responsibility the buyer’s agent has in assisting buyer clients to evaluate and confirm the seller’s foreign status. The buyer also has a responsibilityRead More

woman with questions

Is Zillow’s Joint Marketing Program a Violation of RESPA?

Increasing Scrutiny of RESPA Violations Joint marketing activities between real estate agents and lenders have been the subject of inquiry by governmental authorities as a potential violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”). This oversight has taken on a more aggressive tone ever since the Dodd-Frank legislation created the Consumer Financial Protection BureauRead More

padlock on door

What to Do When the Tenant Will Not Allow Access During Your Listing?

Do you know what to do when a property is listed for sale with a tenant on the property and the tenant refuses to cooperate with requests for open houses and viewings by interested buyers? As the real estate agent, there are steps you and your seller client can take to help address and avoidRead More

frustrated woman at computer

How to “Fire” a Difficult Real Estate Client

Over the last several years I have seen more and more of my real estate agent clients become frustrated in their representation of sellers or buyers. Sometimes it’s to the point that I advise agents to quickly and professionally terminate the real estate relationship in writing. How to Deal with a Difficult Client in aRead More

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Understanding the Earnest Money Deposit in Real Property Sales

What Is Earnest Money And Its Purpose? Earnest money is cash deposited by a buyer to a seller into escrow (in states that use escrow), demonstrating the buyer’s intent to purchase an offered property. Essentially, it’s a way for a buyer to secure a contract with a seller to demonstrate they’re serious about making aRead More

house on top of calculator

What is a Seller Carryback? How to Protect the Seller and Yourself in a Seller Carryback Transaction

Seller carryback financing is when the seller of a given property acts as a lender for a buyer on the seller’s property. The end result is that the buyer signs a promissory note to the seller, for the amount of the carryback with a set interest rate, set monthly payments, and a set time forRead More

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