Home Buying in 32832>Question Details

Frank, Home Buyer in Orlando, FL

title company and listing agent

Asked by Frank, Orlando, FL Tue Jan 29, 2013

We are buying a condo in Orlando with cash. One hour after I wired 12k deposit to the title company, I found out the title company officer and the listing agent share the same office suite and same LAST NAME. I think they are either husband and wife or brother and sister. I contacted my bank right away to stop the payment but I was told it's too late. I read our contract again, it's us, the buyer who are paying the title company but the title company is not listed on the contract. We are very worried. Can I get my deposit back? If I can't, should I hire a lawyer to make sure there is no scam?

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Carol Bauza’s answer
Hi Frank,

My go to real estate attorney:
Roland Acosta
399 Carolina Ave
Ste 210
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 644-2531

Hope that helps....

Carol Bauza
Charles Rutenberg Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 6, 2013

Go to


Ms. Campione is very good.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 30, 2013
thank you all.

can anyone here recommend me a good real-estate lawyer?

I came in to this deal with good faith, but there have been so many hiccups between, I'm really seriously starting to have doubt. I'm not saying there will be a problem, but if so, I'm in a vulnerable position: my escrow is in her husband's custody.

is she legally required to disclose that her husband's company has been designated as the closing company?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 30, 2013
Consider changing the title company and still request that each party pays for their portion of closing costs without any penalties for changing the title company. If seller does not follow your lead maybe it is time to reconsider if you are not 100% comfortable with these arrangements.

Veronica Ochoa
Premium Properties
email: Veronica@TourofLakeNona.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 30, 2013
At the end of the day, if you have an inspection period and are unhappy with the purchase, cancel and get your earnest money back. But if you still want the property, and the closing costs being charged to you are customary and not above and beyond normal market rate, then I'd just move forward and close....(title search fee is usually a seller cost, though, by the way)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 30, 2013
thanks linda, then what's the customary cost for closing relative to the value of the said property
Flag Wed Jan 30, 2013
thanks for replies. maybe we weren't clear and here are the entanglements:

1. the listing agent is one of the 2 members of the company who is selling the property, and she's signing on the sales agreement as the seller;

2. the title company's principal carries the same last name as the listing agent, share the same office.

in a nutshell, the listing agent is selling her ~own~ property and having her husband to serve as the custodian of my escrow and do the title search for me (I'm paying for the title search)

the relations in No 1 was disclosed in MLS system (to the effect that "listing agent will sign on the contract"--to the effect because I've never seen this fine prints) but not on any other site. my agent failed to disclose this to me until I found out at last minute.

the relations in No 2 was not disclosed in anyway.

is there anything begging question here? conflicts of interest?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 30, 2013
Why are you worried?

Have they done anything unethical?

If the title fees are in line, just let them handle it, close the deal and be happy.

BTW- having a US Attorney friend in a major city, I can tell you, these Title Companies are in the crosshairs, so they know they need to walk a staright line these days,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 30, 2013
If you'd like, forward me your contract. I'll be happy to review it to see if anything is out of the ordinary. Lindasellsorlando@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013
Many large brokerages in town have title offices and lending offices under the same roof, often incorporated individually but owned by the same family. If in the contract you selected for the seller to pay a portion of the title cost, then they select the agency. It would make sence for the sellers agent to suggest using their own title to keep everything in house. Nothing abnormal about that, they just need to give you a disclosure about the relationship between the two businesses. Review that paperwork you have signed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013
On the contract, under the seller's fees:
• Title search charges (if Paragraph 9(c)(iii) is checked)
but 9(c)(iii) is not checked so it's the buyers who pay the title search charges, there is no place on the contract to let us elect to have the sellers choose the title company.

Our realtor is in Orlando, he only represents us - the buyers, he is not very helpful. It's us who found the listing agent and the title company officer share the same office suite and same last name. We are not sure if we can get our deposit back if the condo fails the inspection and we are not sure if we will get the title after we pay the balance on closing day.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013
How many days do it show you have for inspections?
Veronica Ochoa,ePRO, SFR
Premium Properties
Flag Tue Jan 29, 2013
1. What does your realtor say about this?
2. In the Orlando area, most buyers elect to have the sellers choose the title company, at which point the sellers pay the larger portion of the owner's title policy. If you chose, as part of your offer, to choose the title company, then you would be responsible for paying the larger portion of the owner's title insurance policy.

I am not a lawyer, but If the listing agent has an affiliated business arrangement with the title company, it's the responsibility of the agent to disclose this fact to his client- the seller. I think as long as your title closing fee is within range of going rate for this area, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. But as they say, you can always consult an attorney.
3. Again, where is your realtor? Or does your realtor represent both you AND the seller?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013
thanks Linda:
my agent said don't worry, there's no specific legal requirement in FL for the disclosure about listing agent signing as the seller.
BTW, it turns out I'm paying the title search fees.
Flag Wed Jan 30, 2013
The agent should have given you a disclosure to sign and explain the relationship to you. It may be an over sight, neither less to say, have someone look at your hud statement before you sign it., Voice your concern and demand a breakdown on how much the title company is charging you to close the deal. Hope this helps. Take a deep yoga breath , be direct and specific with them.

Premium Properties Real Estate
564 N Semoran Blvd
Orlando, FL. 32807
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013

Your sales contract should have a provision whereby you can request to withdraw your offer and a refund on your escrow monies furthermore, your Realtor is the professional who can help you do this.

Good luck,

Veronica Ochoa,ePRO, SFR
Premium Properties
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013
Strange... I'd call the lawyer. It won't be free, but sometimes peace of mind is worth a few bucks. I'll keep my fingers crossed that everything is on the level for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013
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