Q. We originally listed our home with a smaller national real estate company for six months, but our house did not sell and our agent couldn’t tell us why.
So, we decided to list our home with a large national real estate company. We initially liked our broker’s enthusiasm and ideas on how to market the house, but were quickly disheartened when several of the homes on our street sold well before ours.
We eventually sold our house after a year — actually, we pretty much had to give the house away.
Our house was on a corner lot, professionally landscaped, brick patio, privacy evergreen trees with an interior that was neutral and in great condition. Every agent who came through the house had nothing but good things to say. The only comment was that the yard was a little too small.
We were very unhappy with the broker that ended up selling our house. She didn’t show up at the first open house. She had a trainee show the property. She did not respond to various questions regarding comments from prospective buyers. She did not attend the buyer walk-thru nor did she attend the closing.
Because she did not show up at the closing our attorney had to credit the buyer $200 for an alleged problem with one of the showers. If she had been there, she could have refuted this allegation.
The bottom line is we feel that because of some of those issues, we were unable to get the best price for our house. We just sent a letter to the managing broker of our listing broker’s office a letter listing the problems we had with the agent and requested 2 percent of the commission back.
Are they obligated to respond to our letter and furthermore, do we have a leg to stand on if we take them to court for a refund?
A. Many sellers try to blame their real estate agent when their home does not sell. In most cases, the home itself and/or the local market are to blame. As corner lot homes have more exposure to streets and have less privacy in the back yard, many people prefer not to buy a home located on a corner lot.
As for your broker not showing up at the open house and following up with prospective buyers, you should have addressed these issues with the managing broker of your broker’s office prior to the sale of the home.
As for the $200 closing issue, it was your responsibility to be present at the closing. Your real estate broker does not have a duty to represent you at a closing the way a real estate attorney does. If you had been at the closing, you could have addressed the shower issue. Don’t fault the broker for the condition of the property and issues raised by the buyer.
A real estate broker has an obligation to sell the listed home. It appears that your broker was successful in this endeavor. You can ask the real estate firm to give you money back, but they have no legal obligation to return any portion of the commission ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“ and they may not even respond to your letter.
If the broker breached her duties as a broker, failed to comply with the terms of the listing agreement, or lied or misrepresented information, you can report the broker to the state board or commission that regulates real estate brokers in your state.
Q: A couple of years ago, my mom placed me on the title with her on a property she co-owns with another person. She lives in the front of the house and he lives in the back. I found out I was on the title when she decided to refinance the house and I had to sign off on the paperwork to do so.
I didn’t pay attention to what I was signing at the time and I think I may have signed on the new refinanced loan. I have checked my credit report and it doesn’t show up there. Is there some way to find out if I co-signed? Is there any recourse I have in this matter? My mom and I are not on good terms and I want out of this whole mess. I don’t want this affecting my credit in the future as I am only 24.
A: You should have known what you were signing. My general advice is if you don’t understand what you are signing, don’t sign it. Now that you have signed this document, whatever it is, it will be difficult for you to get out of the mess.
It’s entirely possible that you are a co-borrower on the new loan. You can call the closing agent that took care of the refinancing and request copies of some of the documents.
On the other hand, it’s possible that you did not become a co-borrower, but rather signed only the mortgage to permit the lien of the lender to be placed on the home. If you only signed the mortgage, you do not have the responsibility to repay the loan, but, rather, to abide by the mortgage terms to maintain the property, pay the taxes and maintain the insurance on the home.
If you only signed the mortgage and did not provide credit information to the lender, your credit history will generally not be affected by the loan. However, if your mother and the co-owner stop paying the mortgage, and the loan goes is in default and the lender has to foreclose on the property, your name would become part of the foreclosure proceedings and that could affect your credit.
If you want out, you must have your name removed from the title and have the lender release you from the mortgage. Lenders generally won’t release a party to a mortgage unless the loan is paid off in full. In that case, the only way out for you would be if your mom refinances again and at that time your name is taken off the title and you do not sign any of the new loan documents.