Some sellers never satisfied with their real estate agents

DEAR BOB: As a real estate broker for 17 years, I especiallyenjoyed that recent letter from a home seller who was unhappy about herfour-month listing with a “bad agent.” You gave an excellent answer,explaining what constitutes “due diligence” and suggesting the sellermeet with the brokerage’s manager to perhaps transfer the listing to anotheragent. However, my question is, who judges due diligence by a real estateagent? Some home sellers will never be satisfied, especially in the currentslowing market in most areas, no matter how hard the listing agent works. –EvanR.

DEAR EVAN: Great question. Unless the listing dispute windsup in court for a judge or jury to decide if there was lack of due diligence bythe listing agent, it is up to the home seller to decide if he or she issatisfied with the listing agent’s performance.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

Having been a real estate broker for 39 years, I recall onlya few home sellers who were unhappy with my listing agent services. The mostfrequent complaint was, “You don’t advertise my house enough.” Thereason was the house was usually overpriced, based on comparable nearby recentsales prices.

However, there is another side to the story. As a typicallisting agent, I often took overpriced listings where the seller insistedlisting at a price I knew was too high. I always said, “Let’s give it a goodtry for 30 days, but if we don’t receive any purchase offers then let’s agreeto reduce the asking price.” That method usually worked.

Nobody can say for sure what is due diligence. But any agentwho takes a listing, puts it into the local multiple listing service (MLS) anddoes nothing else to get that listing sold is showing lack of due diligence.Unfortunately, such agent conduct occasionally occurs, especially when thelisting agent expects a buyer’s agent to see the MLS listing and produce a buyerwithout further effort by the listing agent.

CAN HOMEOWNER TRANSFER TITLE WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY?

DEAR BOB: I want to deed my house to my sister but keep themortgage with my current lender. Can I do the deed transfer, record it, andkeep the current lender, without an attorney? My sister will continue payingoff the mortgage instead of getting a new mortgage, which will cost more money.–Lien N.

DEAR LIEN: Yes, you can transfer title to your sister byexecuting a quitclaim deed and recording it with the county recorder of deeds.However, your sister won’t have the benefit of an owner’s title insurancepolicy to be certain she receives marketable title.

Your name will always be on that mortgage until your sisterrefinances, pays it off, or sells the property. She is buying “subjectto” your mortgage and should be aware the lender might enforce thedue-on-sale clause and call the balance due in full.

If that happens, she can usually either pay an assumptionfee, typically 1 percent of the mortgage balance, or refinance with anotherlender. However, that is highly unlikely if she makes the monthly payments ontime.

She should notify the insurance agent to add her name to thehomeowner’s insurance policy as an additional insured, just in case the houseburns down or there is a liability claim. For more details, she should consulta local real estate attorney.

NO WAY TO GET HOUSE TITLE BACK AFTER GIVING IT AWAY

DEAR BOB: A friend lives in a home where her son holdstitle. But he is delinquent on the mortgage payments and foreclosure ispending. What recourse does the mother have? She quitclaimed the title to herson when she was disabled. Now the son won’t give the title back. –Art D.

DEAR ART: Unfortunately, your friend’s situation happens fartoo often. Her obvious big mistake was deeding the title to her son while shewas disabled.

A far better alternative, if she thought she was going tosoon die, would be to create a revocable living trust, naming her son toreceive title after she died. The primary advantage is to avoid probate costsand delays, with a secondary advantage of management of her assets if she isunable to do so.

At this point, there is nothing the mom can do to force theungrateful son to deed the title back so she can cure the foreclosure default.She should consult a local real estate attorney.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “Pros and Cons ofFast and Slow House Flipping for Big Profits,” is now available for $5from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet delivery at www.BobBruss.com. Questions for this columnare welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

Copyright 2006 Inman News

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