Have you ever been in a situation with a piece of property under contract, a few weeks before closing, and title work comes in and you are told that an estate needs to be probated? Or have you received a cash offer with a one week closing timeline, but seller is out of town and the title company needs Trust documents? These are situations that we experience far too often, and each of these situations could have been avoided with a well informed and proactive listing agent.
If you ask the right questions and get the right information at the listing, you and your client will be prepared and will avoid a closing disaster. We call this process “OHIO” – Only Handle It Once. These are a few of the pieces of information we suggest you gather:
- Seller’s Name. This may seem obvious but pull the prior Deed and see how the property is legally deeded.
- Is the Seller an entity? Yes? Ask them for their Operating Agreement or Corporate Governing Documents. Title will need them.
- Is the Seller a Trust? Yes? Ask them for a copy of the Trust. Title will need it.
- Is the Seller a foreign person? Yes? Put them in touch with an accountant to go over the FRPTA rules and get the process started.
- Is the property in someone’s name other than the person you are talking to? Was there a divorce? Did someone pass away? Make sure a divorce decree or probate has been completed.
- Is there a current survey?
- Is there a Prior Owner’s Policy available?
- Who is their contact at the Homeowner’s Association?
If you, the listing agent, gather and hold onto these documents, title will not have to ask the Seller for them later. It will give your client time to find everything without a big last minute rush, and if they are in Europe when you go under contract, all will be good because you were proactive and prepared for anything.