Helpline Questions of Interest

Mar 05, 2018

Q. Can I put my sold sign on the property after my buyer goes to contract with the seller?

A. If you are also the listing broker and have the seller's permission, you can put an "In Contract" sign on the premises. The DOS believes it is untrustworthy to indicate sold before a closing. If there is a listing broker and you are the selling broker, you cannot put a sign on the lawn unless the listing broker and seller approve and the chances of that would seem mighty slim. If you are the selling broker and the buyer gives you permission, you can put a "Sold" sign on the house once it has closed.

Q. Can I advertise all the houses I have listed and sold, even though I listed and sold the houses while associated with another broker?

A. Yes, but you must indicate that the transactions occurred while you were affiliated with another broker, although you do not have to give the name of the other broker (or brokers) but you just have to make it clear that the sales did not occur in your present broker's office.

Q. I left my previous office and have not been paid on a deal that just closed. What can I do?

A. If your prior broker does not pay you, you will have to go to Court and sue for your money, but the Courts will like to see that you gave the broker a "reasonable time" in which to pay you, which is generally considered to be about 30 days.

Q. Is a broker allowed to lower my split if I leave an office with listings and sales in contract?

A. You will have to go by the terms of your Independent Contractor's Agreement.

Q. I have a buyer who wants to do a lead hazard inspection on a house he wants to buy, but the seller says he will not allow it. Isn't that against the law?

A. No. The seller never has to allow the inspection, but then the buyer cannot be compelled to buy the house.

Q. We just closed on a house that had two deals that died on it before the third deal went to closing. Do I have to keep the paperwork on all three deals?

A. Yes, the office has to keep the records for three years!

Q. Can a seller refuse to let an agent and his company into his house? He says he knows the agent from the time they were in high school and he hates him! 

A. The US Constitution allows every American to refuse to let someone in his home, even the government, unless there is a warrant! You may not write on your listing that a particular agent or company cannot enter the house, but you can tell the person or office when you are asked to let them in that the seller will not allow it. Get it in writing from the seller to you in order to protect yourself, however!

Q. I want to buy a house listed by another broker. Can I get paid as an agent? Can I waive my commission?

A. If you are the buyer, you must be a buyer's agent. Your license entitles you to get paid in your capacity as an agent even when you are the buyer, unless the listing agent and seller have not offered to compensate a buyer agent. If you wish to waive compensation, you should get your broker's written permission and give a copy of that to the listing broker, or the listing broker may be sued by your broker. Incidentally, whenever a NYS licensee buys or sells real property in New York, the contract must state that the buyer or seller, whichever it is, is a licensed real estate broker or salesperson in the state.

Q. I have a seller who is selling the house he lives in for $2,50,000.00, but he bought it years ago for $585,000.00, He wants to do a 1031 exchange or else he says he will have to pay a big capital gain tax. What is a 1031 exchange?

 A. It is a way to defer recognition of a gain so that you do not have to pay capital gains taxes at the time of the sale, but it is not available to your seller since it can only be done with investment or business property, not with a primary residence. If, however, the primary residence is a two or more-family property, he can bifurcate the sale and take the $500,000.00 capital gain forgiveness and a portion of the basis for his primary residence portion and use the balance of the money he receives for a 1031 exchange. It is a lot more complicated than this would make it sound, so suggest he speak to an attorney and accountant.