Legal Updates

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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

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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

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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

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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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What To Do When Your Client Is In Contract and Does Not Want To Close?

Buyer’s (or seller’s) remorse becomes a legal issue when the buyer or seller does not want to close after they are under contract to buy or sell. This is true for commercial, residential or vacant lot property. Documentation is critical for claim prevention. Let’s take a look at what the listing agent and the sellingRead More

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Case Study: Creation of an “Associate Licensee” and the Duty to Investigate and Disclose – Horiike v. Coldwell Banker

Real Estate Agent Fiduciary Duties Ruling In November 2016, California’s Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Court’s decision in Horiike v. Coldwell Banker (2014) 225 Cal. App. 4th 427. Its significance is that where a real estate brokerage is representing the buyer and the seller in a transaction, albeit with separate real estate agents for theRead More

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When the Septic Hits the Fan: Colorado Specifics

In Colorado, new regulations were enacted regarding septic system requirements that every real estate agent and broker must know.  Many other states have not yet put these types of requirements in place, making Colorado an interesting case study in the types of regulations and permitting issues that can arise from septic system issues. Read theRead More

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Legal Review: What Is a RESPA Violation?

The purpose of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is to prevent abusive settlement charges that plagued this country’s real estate industry in the past — and led to the “Great Recession” in 2008. The key provision under RESPA is that, “No person shall give and no person shall accept any fee, kickback, orRead More

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The Benefits and Risks of Home Video Surveillance When Selling a Property

Many homes these days have surveillance equipment ranging from high-tech motion detector and video cameras to so-called “nanny-cams.” Not surprisingly, home sellers use such equipment either to protect their belongings during open houses and showings or to gain information concerning buyers’ reactions to their homes. A prominently displayed surveillance system and/or conspicuous signs alerting visitorsRead More

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