Pacita Dimac…, Real Estate Pro in Alameda, CA

Mother and daughter own a condo, and both names are on title. Mother felt pressured to sign and re-list with agent, But daughter didn't sign

Asked by Pacita Dimacali, Alameda, CA Mon Sep 19, 2011

agreement Condo was listed for 5 months. At end of the agreement, the agent convinced the mother to re-list. Daughter calls agent to say she wants to list with another agency. But agent insists the mother has already listed the condo, and as such she has activated the listing on the MLS. Since both names are on title, both should agree to and sign the agreement, right?

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Hi Pacita,

Actually, only one homeowner needs to sign the listing agreement to make it a valid contract in California. However, both homeowners will need to sign the purchase agreement and all documents once an offer has been accepted. Good luck!

1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
I wouldn't take the listing, Pacita. If a co-broker brings a full-price-and-terms offer and the daughter isn't on board, what good is having the listing?

Not to mention - what if the daughter tried to list the property, too?

All the best,
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
Hi Pacita,

First, I would call CAR Legal to get their input on this to see if you can personally help resolve the situation and remain unscathed in the process.

Barring any input from CAR legal to the contrary, this may be as simple as submitting a written termination of the Listing Agreement to the Agent and Broker (and/or AOR) with the mother and daughter’s signature. Having the Sellers discuss the situation with the Agent's Broker might speed a resolution, although I always like to “put it in writing”. I'm sure if the daughter started making calls to the local AOR about what has gone on this might also raise an eyebrow of concern regarding MLS rules. For example, the Bay East AOR MLS Rules state:

7.19 Expiration, Extension, and Renewal of Listings. Listings shall be removed from the MLS database on the expiration date specified on the listing unless the listing is extended or renewed by the listing broker. The listing broker shall obtain written authorization from the seller(s) before filing any extension or renewal of a listing. Any renewals or extensions received after the expiration date of the original listing shall be treated as a new listing and will be subject to any fees applicable to new listings. At any time and for any reason, the MLS has the right to request a copy of the seller’s written authorization to extend or renew a listing. If a listing broker is requested to provide a copy of such authorization and does not do so within 1 day after the request, the listing shall be subject to immediate removal from the MLS.
[End Quote]

Good Luck!

Best, Steve
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
As with married couples or partnerships, the rule of thumb is "one to buy and two to list". The agent is trying to play hard ball but what is the point? Agent now has a hostile Seller and cannot force the hostile party to sign no matter what nor collect a commission IF she brings a full price offer. Agent should do the professional thing and gracefully bow out before they get an even worse reputation.

If the listing is such a great deal and priced right, why did not the property sell yet? If it is so great the agent should bring the Buyer instead!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
Good point as usual Mack.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
You, as the owner of the property always have the right to terminate a listing at anytime. If you're Mother indeed felt pressured and you didn't sign that's just cause in and of itself to terminate. Personally, I wouldn't even want to keep a listing active with a hostile or uncooperative client.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
Melissa ----

How interesting. I remember one case where there were 2 listing agents from 2 separate agencies, and both put up their signs on the same property. The husband signed one agreement, the wife signed another --- neither trusted the other to pick a realtor.

I don't know who ended up putting the listing on the MLS. It was messy.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 21, 2011
You are correct. I was just asked to negotiate a short sale for a married couple (husband on title and incarcerated) where only the wife signed the listing. I declined, and later learned that the file was approved and ready to close, but the husband didn't want to sell. Best practice: make sure that everyone on title signs the listing agreement ;-)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 21, 2011

Daughter doesn't think it's worth the trouble to fight....she hopes it sells this time. If not, she has another 5 months on the contract. And she's cautioned her mom NOT to make any decisions, sign any papers, etc. without discussion.

End of story.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 21, 2011
Wow! This is playing out better than a TV serial. Can't wait for the next exciting adventure.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
The first thing suggested to the daughter -- to contact the broker. Turns out that the listing agent IS the broker.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
This is when the daughter needs to call the Designated Broker/Manager who is the holder of the listing. As a designated broker I would release this daughter in a heartbeat.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011

Broker confirms that even if there is more than one person on title, it only needs one to sign a listing agreement to make it binding. Both will indeed need to sign the purchase agreement..

The matter rests in the hands of the owners and the listing agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
Yes both should agree to sign the listing agreement and I think the daughter just needs to have an attorney call the listing agent. It might be legal to have only one person sign the listing agreement, but since both parties have to sign the purchase and sale agreements, it makes no sense to push someone into working with someone they don't want to.

I think if both people signed the original listing agreement and now she snookered the mother into just signing it, there would be a valid complaint with the real estate agency here.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
The daughter said that from the very beginning, it was made clear to the listing agent that the daughter is handling the sale and is making the decisions for both she and her mother.

Told the daughter that any agent she chooses will prefer that she resolve this problem with the current listing agent before anyone takes over the listing and that no agent will intervene at this point.

Listing agent is digging in her heels.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
Unless California real estate law and MLS "rules" are waaayyy different than Florida it would appear that there is not a valid listing agreement as all owners (those on the title) have not signed the renewal.
As a side note . . . if the parties cannot agree on who will be the listing agent I cannot imagine how they will agree on accepting an offer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
You're right. Both have to sign the agreement.

Your broker should be able to give you further guidance.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
The new listing is invalid unless both owners have signed. The listing should not be in the MLS.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
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