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Have There Been Offers on That Property?

January 26th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune

For many years when a listing real estate agent was asked that question, they would decline to respond.  Things have changed, and now (in California) an agent can disclose this information unless other wise instructed not to by the seller of the property.   Being able to obtain this information is a benefit to both buyer and seller.  If an offer has been declined as a result of a low offered price, the new buyer could either proceed with a better offer, or not make any offer at all, and that is a time saver for everyone.
Even if a property has gone into escrow, and the seller has not yet signed instructions, another offer could be made and accepted if at a higher price or better terms.   Responsibility of the listing agent, to the seller is to obtain the best price for the property.  Of course, the buyer’s real estate agents responsibility is to follow the buyer’s instructions and to present all offers.  For the record, the only time that a selling agent cannot present an offer is when, in the private remarks in the Multiple Listing Service, it is stated that an agent is not to present a price below a given figure.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

Q) We currently owe a little over $225,000 on our mortgage, paying 6.75 percent interest.  We were offered a new loan at 5.5 percent, and that seems like a good savings.  Some friends say we should take out the new loan, while others say it’s not a good idea.  What should we be concerned with?

A) Much depends on how long you plan on staying in the property.  If your plans are to move or sell your home within the next two to three years, taking out a new loan is not such a good idea.  Another consideration is costs of obtaining a new loan.  Average costs are from two to three-percent of the loan amount, so in your case, a new loan could cost over $6,000, and that would take a number of years of staying in the property just to break even.  If your long-term plans are to remain in the property, then going for a new loan could be a good thing.  One final thing: to qualify for a new loan, you must have a FICO® score of at least 600, and that is on the low side.  Higher the score the better chances would be towards qualifying for that loan.

Q) We are trying to refinance our home, but we are late in paying our taxes, and until those taxes are paid we cannot get new financing.  Once we obtain that financing we can pay our taxes, is there a way to get this solved?

A) Try for that loan again, as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently announced that it is subordinating federal tax liens, meaning that those that are applying to refinance their primary property may do so without the tax being paid first.  Remember the tax will not go away, as you must pay back any taxes that are owed.  Check this out with your lender, as this is a recent change in the law and it may not have been available at the time that you had first applied for refinancing.

Q) My husband’s job may require that he move to a different state or area within a state.  This could happen every few years.  When notified that he was being transferred, we placed our home on the market and did receive an acceptable offer.  At the same time, due to market conditions, the company said that plans have changed and he does not have to move.  We cancelled the listing, but the agent who brought us the offer wants to be paid a commission.  Is that right?

A) This is not an unusual situation, and the answer is no.  A commission does not have to be paid to the agent who brought the offer, unless you had signed the Purchase Agreement and the acceptance has been conveyed to the buyer.  If you had canceled at that point, there may be costs paid to the buyer in addition to the real estate agencies.  The only agency that would be entitled to a commission – if the property sale had been completed – would be the listing agency.  If another agent, from another agency, sold the property, compensation would be paid when escrow had closed.  I would think that you might wish to reimburse your listing agent for any expense that he/she may have incurred, meaning for advertising and flyer expenses.

Q) Do we have any recourse if we discover that our real estate agent sold us a property that was higher priced than like properties in the immediate area?

A) I would need much more information, but my initial response would be no.  Of course, if you had paid cash for the property that could be a consideration, but if purchasing the property required obtaining a loan, you would had to have an appraisal, and the lender would not lend if the price was higher than like properties in the immediate area.  Again, not having complete information makes it difficult to give an affirmative answer.  Knowing the sales price, how much down payment was made, upgrades to the property adds value.   Having a pool, while other like homes do not have a pool is also important information.  Give your real estate agent a call and ask that he/she provide you with a Comparable Market Analysis for properties in your area at the time that you had purchased your property.  That will give you a better idea as to value.

Louis Perlin CRS, GRI is a Syndicated Writer, Author, Professional Real Estate Witness and Mediator.  Lou can be reached by calling Marilyn Perlin Realtors, Inc., at (760) 327-8401 or by E-mail: mprltr@aol.com.

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