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January 26th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
You will note that most of the questions that I attempt to answer deal with everyday problems. Questions received are extremely interesting, and may not always deal with all problems that other readers may be experiencing. Even so, there are those that have similar questions and hope the following will be of some help.
Q) My mom and her sister own a home together, but due to bad health, neither of them are able to stay in the home. My aunt has given her son a Power of Attorney, and I am attempting to help my mom. Neither of them is able to support the care of the property, and my mom would like to sell. I have spoken to a local real estate agent that said all he would need is for my mom to sign the listing agreement to sell. I just want to be certain that we can proceed to sell the property.
A) The agent that you spoke to had given you wrong information, as it would require that both your mom and aunt sign the Listing Agreement. In the case of your aunt the agreement to sell may possibly be agreed to by her son. Of course that Power of Attorney given to her son, would have to specify that her son would have authority to place the property on the market for sale. Neither one can sell the property without the other agreeing to do so.
You asked what would happen if either your mom or aunt passes away. Much depends on how title to the property is taken. If the property is in Joint Tenancy, upon death of the co-owner her interest ends and cannot be disposed of by will. Survivor owns the property by survivorship. If the title to the property is Tenancy in Common, upon the co-owner’s death interest passes by will to devisee or heirs. No survivorship rights.
Even if your mom listed the property for sale, without the knowledge or agreement of your aunt, and the listing agent is able to bring her a buyer, escrow could not close as the Title Company could not issue a clear title, simply because your mom is not the sole owner of the property.
If you would like a copy of the various ways that title to a property can be held, simply send me your mailing address and the information will be sent to you, or you can obtain the information in my book, “Just Ask Lou”.
Q) We are purchasing a bank owned condo and have requested a 60-day escrow period. The bank accepted our offer, but we now find that we must close escrow in less than 30 days. If we don’t do so, we would have to pay a fine of $100.00 for every day that the escrow did not close on time. Our agent assured us that he can get escrow closed on time, but we are concerned. Do we have any options?
A) You most certainly do. In today’s market getting a loan approved within 30 days is very difficult, although it can be done, but why take the chance? It is very possible that even though the offer has been accepted, that it may take the escrow company, who in this case is really representing the seller, a couple of weeks to get escrow instructions to you. The bank, without question, had given you a counter offer and if you read it carefully, you will find that $100.00 per day late charge somewhere in the small print. Step one, immediately instruct escrow to extend the escrow period by at least 3 weeks (21 days). Instruct that the sale is not to proceed without that extension, and you want it in writing. If the seller, meaning the bank, is unwilling to give you that extension, then the safest thing to do is to cancel the escrow. You will see how quickly the seller will change their minds. If your real estate agent is so certain that he/she can close escrow within 30-days, then have him/her commit to paying that $100.00 per day charge, and do it in writing and posted with the escrow company.
Q) We have purchased a home that is only a couple of years old; a really nice home. It is a “Short Sale” and the price is considerably less then like homes for sale within the development. Our inspector has found a water problem, which is a result of improper work done by the developer. Who is responsible for making that repair?
A) It is very possible that the developer, builder, could be held responsible for making the repair, providing that you can find the builder and if the builder/developer is still in business. Since it is a “Short Sale” the lender will not make any repairs, and it is questionable if the current owner is in a financial position to make any repairs. It is really up to you at this point. How much will it cost to make the repair? Would either the listing, selling agent or both, along with you, be willing to share the cost of making the repair? If the price you are paying for the property is such a good buy, the cost of repair should not make any difference in you continuing with the purchase. You are not purchasing a new home, and it is very possible that there may be other defects. If this is the only problem found then you may still be making a good deal. Get the estimate for the repair, as that is your first step, and if it is not unreasonable, continue with the purchase if you so choose.
Louis Perlin CRS, GRI is a Syndicated Newspaper Writer, Author, Professional Real Estate Witness and Mediator. Lou can be reached at Marilyn Perlin Realtors, Inc. (760) 327-8401 or by e-mail: email@example.com. Lou is available for Real Estate office meetings and book signings, where 50% of all profits going to local charities.