An Easy Way To Avoid An Earnest Money Fight

2 cartoon boys fighting

By now you all know that I don’t like the OREF Termination form. It tries to do too much. I would rather see a unilateral termination (you don’t need permission to terminate – only to disburse earnest money). I have a form if you are interested. Regardless of the form, however, I would like to see real estate agents state …

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Power Of Attorney And Real Estate

power of attorney card in business man's hand

I find some real estate agents are confused about the scope of a power of attorney and about how an attorney in fact (i.e., the holder of the power of attorney) should sign documents. Let’s clear some of that up, ok? Power Of Attorney And Real Estate When a party gives another the power of an attorney (giver is referred …

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Do I Need To Disclose That My Neighbor Is ‘Cranky’?

neighbor peering over fence

Do you or a client have a cranky neighbor? Once in a while I get asked whether sellers must disclose the presence of a you-name-it: High control, overly rigid, frustratingly picky, big ego, complaining neighbor, and the answer is generally no. UNLESS the issue about which the neighbor is cranky is a particular condition that will continue after closing. If …

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3 Real Estate Errors Made With Special Needs Clients


I have recently represented three different clients with special needs, two of which were working with the same real estate broker. In all three cases, the client communicated his/her special needs to the broker but the broker did not adequately protect the client. Case #1: Preliminary Title Report Not Disclosed In the first case, a broker represented a seller who …

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Avoiding Fights Over Buyer’s Brokers Fees

2 bulls fighting

I was helping one of my real estate brokerage clients with a question about seller’s contributions to closing costs the other day.  The fight really stemmed from how the contribution was being handled on the seller’s settlement statement due to lender requirements. The seller objected.  The listing broker took on the seller’s outrage.  It got ugly, with the listing broker’s  managing broker (at least that’s …

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Tightening Up Contracts With “Seller Views As Unreasonable”

Document With Hand And Pen

“Seller has the option of terminating this transaction if Washington County Hearing Officer denies approval or imposes additional conditions that Seller views as unreasonable.” I ran into this term in a presale of a lot in the process of being partitioned.  The big issue for me is the phrase:  “that the seller views as unreasonable.” This phrase gives the seller a broad option to terminate …

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Why Realtors Need A Buyer Broker Agreement

shaking hands

I know . . . you love to hate buyer broker agreements. But here’s a true story. A client of mine spent two years showing a couple high end condominiums.  They didn’t make even one offer in all that time.  The condos were going very fast. After two years, the buyer heard from a friend about a possible sale not yet on …

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The Basics Of Real Estate Transactions

keys on real estate contract

All I can say about some real estate transactions is that it is a very good thing that the buyers and sellers don’t know much about buying or selling a home. From a legal standpoint, please do not forget these basics: Closing Date Put in an actual date.  I don’t care how deep the short sale debt pile is, TBD as …

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How Realtors Should Organize Their Electronic Communications

man texting

I have a client who purchased a house that was advertised as “going to have” a new roof.  In addition, the purchase and sale agreement between buyer and seller specified that the seller would install a new 30 year roof. The roof was installed by a friend of the seller, an amateur with no CCB license, no insurance and no …

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Entitled Real Estate Buyers Or Sellers

cartoon figures fighting over real estate

No, this is not an article about social security or food stamps.  I am talking about those buyers and sellers (and some agents!) who feel entitled to get exactly what they want. I can give you tons of examples: Sellers who act as though they are doing the buyer a favor by making a price concession or agreeing to repairs; …

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