Dear Edith: In a recent column, you discussed the topic of neighbors who attend open houses with no intent to buy and whether Realtors encourage it.
My wife and I were like that. On many weekends, just out of curiosity, we attended several open houses in our neighborhood.
Finally, we had to sell our house. And what agent did we select to sell the house? An agent who we got to know through her many open houses. — X.
Answer: Yes, at an open house, a broker will usually welcome non-buyers. That can be an advantage, not only to the agent but sometimes to the seller. Those "looky-loos" may well know people who always wanted to live in that area.
And just in general, the more people who know about property on the market, the more likely it is to find the right buyer.
No License Needed
Hello, Edith: I would like to invest in property in a year or two. I have heard different information about having/needing a real estate license to do so. Do I have to have a license to buy and sell property? Do I need a license to collect rent if I become a landlord? To invest in real estate, what would be the pros of having a license? — X.
Answer: There's no requirement anywhere that indicates a real estate investor or landlord needs a real estate license. It wouldn't hurt, though, to review some of the material from your state's real estate salesperson course. There should be a copy of the textbook online or at your local library.
One way to learn the business is to find an experienced investor, perhaps someone who's getting old and may be interested in becoming partners with a beginner. If you're willing to do the running around part of the job, a partnership is not a bad way to start getting experience. Good luck!
From a Stager
Ms. Lank: You had a recent piece about a house that wouldn't sell. Forget about the price; they should consider hiring a professional home stager to come in and fix up the inside and outside and then have another open house.
I was in the business here for more than 48 years. I often did this myself for my customers, and it worked. — J. S.
Answer: Were you the real estate agent or the stager? At any rate, yes, it's always a good idea to spiff up a property when it goes on the market — as long as one isn't hiding any serious flaws.
Offer Never Presented
Edith: We recently signed an offer on a home and were told by the sellers' broker that no offers would be presented until the next day at 7 p.m. We had our broker write the offer, and she confirmed that no offers would be presented until the following day. In the meantime, another broker wrote up an offer and hand-delivered it to the seller (bypassing the sellers' agent). The seller accepted that offer, and we were left completely out of the process (and out of a home). What recourse do we have? By the way, our offer was higher than the one that was accepted. — J. B.
Answer: State law and ethics require that all offers be delivered promptly to the seller and, of course, state that no one is allowed to lie to you. I can't really tell you more than that. You can take your inquiries to your local National Association of Realtors chapter.
But if it turns out that the sellers knew your offer was coming in later, they were within their rights in choosing to deal with another one first. The offer first written does not have any priority, nor does the highest one. I guess the question comes down to this: Did the sellers know about the existence of other signed offers?
Meanwhile, I hope there's an even better house out there waiting for you.
Lawyer Knows Better
Dear Edith: I respectfully disagree with your opinion from a previous column that the "mortgage doesn't affect the addition of a person to the property deed."
Almost all mortgages contain a "due on transfer" clause, which provides that any transfer of any interest in the mortgaged property without the consent of the lender is a default and can result in foreclosure or the lender calling the mortgage all due. Best advice is to get the lender's approval. — D. L. H., Esq.
Answer: Thanks for the reminder. It came from a lawyer who has been most helpful to this column over the years.
Contact Edith Lank at www.askedith.com, at [email protected] or at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620.