Legal Tips

Legal Tips

These legal tips have been created for REALTORS® by the Legal Awareness Committee and are intended for general information purposes and are not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts. If you have specific questions concerning your own situation, please consult an attorney.

Buyer Compensation
Buyer Love Letters

Lead-Based Paint Disclosures
Listing Contract Effective Date

Multiple Offer Best Practices

Sale of Buyer’s Property Contingencies: Hubbard Clause and Under Contract Riders
Service Animals

 

 

COVID-19

During these challenging times, GHAR’s Legal Awareness Committee would like to share some helpful tips with you.

First, as you know, CTR has been actively working hard to bring you important information to help you conduct your real estate business during this unprecedented time. All of their information, including the newly created Coronavirus Advisory and Addendum, can be found by going to https://www.ctrealtors.com/coronavirus/.

The advisory should be used when you first meet with a buyer or seller and the addendum should be used when writing a contract. It’s important to note that these forms are completely voluntary and are there to be used only if you need or want them. You should also check with your broker first before using these forms because they may have a preferred form your firm is using.

Second, in these days of social distancing, more contracts are being sent digitally. Please don’t let this prevent you from fully explaining these documents to your clients. You can use a platform such as Zoom for a “face to face” meeting and use “screen sharing” to go over these documents.

Lastly, NAR has put together a document called “Coronavirus Advocacy Frequently Asked Questions”. This document has questions on all Covid-19 related topics from buyer questions and independent contractor questions to business loan and/or grants. You can view this document by going to https://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/26/3594.pdf.

Concrete Foundation Inspections:

"REMEMBER -- ON ANY CLOSING ON OR AFTER FEBRUARY 1, 2019:
In order for a buyer to get future financial assistance for a crumbling foundation through the indemnity company set up through the State of CT, the buyer or seller needs to have a visual inspection or a core sample test done prior to closing. If a core sample test is done, this information can be transferred to a future buyer of that home. If a visual inspection is done, it will protect that buyer but will not protect future buyers of that home. They would have to have another visual inspection. For more information for you and your clients, please go to https://crumblingfoundations.org."

Initial Deposits:

Once a purchase contract is fully executed the initial deposit is due immediately, time is of the essence. According to section 6 of the GHAR Purchase Contract the buyer is in default if any deposit is not received within 3 calendar days of the date for payment specified in the contract. Therefore, if the initial deposit has not been received on or before day 4, the seller would have the right to declare the buyer in default and terminate the contract.

Leased Equipment:

It is important to remember to check with your sellers to see if they have any leased items of equipment that may be transferred over with the sale of the property. Some common leased equipment could include: propane tanks, hot water heaters, gas boilers and furnaces, and solar panels. Remember to document, in the Connecticut Residential Property Condition Disclosures, any and all leased equipment, specifically the lease payment amount, the payment frequency, and the duration of the lease. If you are representing the buyers, you will want to determine the process by which any such leases may be transferred or assumed.

Short Sale Rider:

The last sentence of Section 3 of the Short Sale Rider provides that the "Buyer understands that until the Notice Receipt Date, some lienholder(s) may entertain other offers." While most short sale lenders (the Seller's lender) may only consider one offer at a time, there are some short sale lenders who will consider multiple offers. If a listing agent receives one or more subsequent offers after the initial offer has been accepted by the Seller and presented to the short sale lender, the listing agent should contact both the party processing the short sale and the Seller's attorney regarding the subsequent offer(s) and should request direction on how to proceed with regard to the subsequent offer(s).

Title:

In June 2017 new language was added to Section 10. You can explain this paragraph to your buyers and sellers by telling them it addresses a buyer’s ability to obtain a title insurance policy, or for a buyer’s lender to obtain a title insurance policy. The title insurance company regularly requests a seller sign an affidavit stating that, to the best of their knowledge, for example that there wasn’t any work done at the property recently that has gone unpaid, there are no tenants and there’s no one the seller knows of claiming an interest in the property. The affidavit would be reviewed with the sellers by their attorneys at the closing and is not something the REALTOR would need to be involved in.