Perhaps It’s Time for Some RESPA Reminders

Recently, I was reminded that, lately, neither in this column nor in many of the usual places had there been much discussion of the need for real estate agents to be observant of activities that fall under the scope of the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA). It was a good reminder. There has…

What Do You Own When You Own an Own-Your-Own?

Both real estate licensees and members of the general public are liable to think of all forms of common interest subdivisions as being condominiums. For the most part, this is a common and harmless mistake. On occasion, though, it may turn out that the differences among these types of ownership is quite important. California law,…

Some Referral Fees Are Ok, but Caution Is Called for

Last week we discussed the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA). It is almost inevitable that such a discussion will call for further discussion regarding the payment of referral fees. More than a few real estate agents are confused about the laws governing referral fees. Some don’t even know that there are any laws…

2018 NAR Profile Can Help Agents to Find Buyers and Sellers

We have noted that the 2018 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers contains valuable information for sellers and their agents as to how buyers find the homes that they ultimately buy. The profile also contains valuable and interesting information as to how both buyers and sellers find the agents that they ultimately…

Did My Offer Get Presented?

One of the crazy-making moments in the world of real estate occurs when this happens: The buyer’s agent submits a written offer to the listing agent; and, then, after the time that was allotted for a response has expired, there is no response. No acceptance, no counter-offer, no rejection, nothing. There is no word from…

New and Revised California Forms are in the Works

The Standard Forms Advisory Committee of the California Association of Realtors® (CAR) releases new and revised forms twice a year. (It is a never-ending process.) The next scheduled release will be in December of this year. What interested and involved agents ought to know is that (a) drafts of the new forms are currently available…

“Cite and Fine” Policy is at Work in California

A recent forum of the Orange County [California] Association of Realtors® focused on enforcement actions by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE). Chief among the topics was the department’s “cite and fine” policy. The presenter, Ms. Summer Goralik, is a former DRE investigator who now acts as a consultant to brokers on matters relating…

Making Ethics Important

In last week’s column we emphasized the distinction between ethics as a body of rules and principles and being ethical as a disposition to conform to those rules and principles. We noted that it is certainly possible to teach someone ethics, but it is a different task to lead someone to be ethical — to…

Ethics Can Be Taught, But That’s Not All There Is To It

The current issue of California Real Estate, official magazine of the California Association of REALTORS® (CAR), contains a transcript of an interesting panel discussion titled, “Best Practices, Pet Peeves, and Challenges.” “Moderated by C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer, the panelists exchanged ideas about the market and shared their best practices as well as the pet peeves…

REALTOR Duty To Cooperate Is A Narrow One

Real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® are, for the most part, rightfully proud of NAR’s Code of Ethics. They have all agreed to abide by it, and when a fellow Realtor® appears to be acting contrary to the Code, most react with consternation. Article 3 of the Code enjoins…

Code Of Ethics: It’s Not The Boy Scout Oath

Some years ago, I participated in a meeting of NAR (National Association of REALTORS®) directors from our state. To put it mildly, we — a sizeable group — were being admonished with respect to what had become a common problem. That is, too many directors were guilty of leaving meetings early, having made travel arrangements…