Deceased Property Owners

last will and testament

by Matthew Kress If you are representing the family or friend of a deceased property owner,  you should have a rudimentary understanding of probate options.  Probate, in layman’s terms, relates to the administration of a decedent’s assets and liabilities upon his or her death. Small Estates Generally speaking, if the decedent’s estate has real estate worth less than $200,000 and personal property worth less …

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Tenants in Common

large country house

When non-married persons hold title to real property, most commonly the property is held as tenants in common.  This gives each owner both the right to use the property and the obligation to pay the costs of operating it. Income property partners don’t usually fight about money, mostly because the income will offset most if not all of the operating costs.  However, nonmarried …

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Terminating Real Estate Contracts

terminated contract

I have been involved in a whole rash of transactions where the sellers are trying to avoid selling their properties even though the sellers entered into valid purchase and sale agreements with buyers. In nearly every one of the cases, the buyer’s agent was unsure of what to do. Seller Termination Options Buyers have contingencies.  Generally, sellers do not.  Therefore, once your seller signs …

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Respa – Title and Escrow: Who Pays?

house atop pile of cash

There are still a lot of real estate agents who believe that the law (RESPA) says the buyer gets to choose the escrow company.  Not true.  Generally speaking (its a complicated law), RESPA says “she who pays, chooses”.  For most of the US that probably works.  However, in Oregon, escrow fees are typically split.  Both are paying.  Who chooses? When …

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How Realtors Should Handle The Offer Process

sold sign

Here is a good example of how a realtor should handle the offer process, to help their buyer retain their leverage. Your buyer asks you to write an offer on a home.  You immediately call the listing broker to let him or her know in case the seller is about to accept another offer.  The listing broker immediately calls every selling …

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Case Study: How Meeting With A Real Estate Attorney Saved Me Thousands


This is a guest post written by a client, Mike Munter. In 2010, I wasn’t working and hadn’t worked for the previous 3 years. You could call it a mid-life crisis. After 20 years working long hours in IT, minor league baseball and finally at the Rose Garden Arena here in Portland, I had no idea what I was going …

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Investors And Investment Contracts To Beware Of

hands denying money from other hands

I am on a tear over investors who are taking advantage of older, retired, disabled, undereducated, or economically distressed persons by offering to purchase homes for prices significantly under market value (e.g., $50,000 under market).  Often these investors have taken classes in how to leverage other people’s real estate into a fortune. My first observation is why would a person who …

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Seller’s Rights To Earnest Money Without A Home Inspection

Home Inspections

A selling real estate broker emailed me this week because his flipper/buyer had unconditionally disapproved of the property’s condition but had not used a professional home inspector.  The broker asked if, in response to the listing broker’s request for the inspection report, he should provide a copy of the contractor’s bid that the buyer had solicited in lieu of the inspection. The broker’s …

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Buyer Changed His Mind

Handing Over House Keys For A Sold Home 624x246

A former client called me the other week.  He and his wife were looking to downsize.  They went to an open house at a newish condo for sale and fell in love.  It was listed by a reputable brokerage and the listing broker was the host.  My client and his wife decided to make an offer.  The listing agent wrote the offer, …

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Forwarding Emails

Flying Email Envelopes 624x246

I can’t imagine life without technology but it can make your lives more difficult and it can sometimes make you the target of a claim.  Here is an example where a forwarded email string creates a problem. You represent the pending buyer of a vacation property.  The seller has been using the property for short term vacation rentals. It turns …

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