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Showing posts from October 29, 2010

SHOULD LISTING AGENTS DISCLOSE HOW FAR UNDERWATER THE SELLER IS?

It has long been a standard operating practice in my office to make immediate inquiry with Sellers and in the public records to try to ascertain the status of a seller's mortgage liens at the outset of every Chicago area short sale transaction I work on. Buyers certainly want to know information like this as they determine how much (or whether) to make an offer in a short sale situation. If the deal is unworkable, why bother putting up earnest money or wasting time, right? 
Do listing agents have a duty to disclose this, even without a specific inquiry? According to one appellate court in California, the answer seems to be yes.
RIS Media reported today on a California appellate court decision earlier this week (Holmes v. Summers) to the effect that real estate practitioners (Realtors)  have the same responsibility as sellers to disclose information they have that affects the “value and desirability of the property.” 


In that case, the seller and the listing associate withheld from p…