Home Buying in 64079>Question Details

Disgruntled…, Home Buyer in 64079

is my realtor liable for finding the correct real estate taxes when i purchase a forclosure?

Asked by Disgruntled Buyer, 64079 Mon Dec 13, 2010

I was short paid $500 for prorated real estate taxes on a property I purchased, and the bank that I purchased the house from said that was my real estate agents responsibility and that they are not liable.

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while you may be advised by many sources, the ultimate onus lies with you. It's a fairly easy thing to do, by calling the city assessor's office, or the city treasurer's office to determine what the taxes are.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 13, 2010
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
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It is the job of the title company to ascertain any and all fees that have anything to do with the home. It is definitely not your real estate agent's role. The bank is seriously mis-advising you.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 13, 2010
Now wait a minute. I work my butt off taking care of people and making sure that they have excellent representation and know what they need to know in order to make intelligent decisions and I highly resent your insulting comment. While I acknowledge that not all Realtors make the same efforts, in any career field there are some people who are slackers and some people who are outstanding, but you are lumping all Realtors together and stating that everyone is bad and I find that highly offensive. I work with very committed caring people who go out of their way to take care of their clients. Yes, this is a career, we have families to feed and we need to get paid in order to pay our bills. We are strictly commission and we are independent contractors so we pay for everything ourselves and we have to pay attention to all our costs, but we are also in a career where we take care of people and we take that very seriously. For most of us our business is based on referrals from past clients and if we don't treat people correctly and take care of them, our business doesn't grow and we can't pay our bills.

You, Sir, are taking the word of the bank, without going back to the people who actually did the pro-ration, which is the TITLE COMPANY, or the group that agreed to it - YOUR MORTGAGE COMPANY - if the two don't agree, you don't have an accepted HUD 1 and you can't proceed to closing. YOU PAID BOTH OF THEM to come up with those numbers. Your REALTOR is not the person who runs these numbers, just as your Realtor would not have been the person who processed your loan or the person who did the survey on the property or provided you with home owners insurance or the person who did your appraisal. The Realtor coordinates with those individuals to ensure that you get to a smooth closing, but he does not do those functions for you and he is not responsible for being the expert in those fields, that's why you hire experts for those specific functions while the Realtor handles the Real Estate functions.

What makes you so certain that the bank is telling you the truth rather than any of us? All they are telling you is it isn't them and, depending on who you are talking to at the bank, they have no responsibility for it and no reason to even remotely CARE whether you were shorted or you were paid correctly. Furthermore, if the TITLE COMPANY did the figures incorrectly, then they are legally responsible and they and/or their underwriters are insured, however, as I stated earlier, I sit at closings all the time and at every single one of them the buyer is told that if they are closing when the taxes are not yet known, then the pro-ration is based on the last known rate from the previous year. Typically the TITLE company will even make them sign a piece of paper that will state that they acknowledge that they will have to pay the difference if the taxes go up, they cannot go back to the seller for more money. I would suggest that you go back through your closing documents and see if you have that letter in your files.

Realtors have a legal responsibility to put their client's fiscal interests first, before their own. They have a high ethics requirement that they have to follow or they can lose their license. While your Realtor has things that they are responsible for taking care of (and there are a LOT of things that they are responsible for that you as a client never see), they are not responsible for determining the taxes. You PAID the title company to determine the amount that the seller would pay you in taxes, that was part of your closing costs, do not try to blame your Realtor for something that was not part of their responsibility. They are NOT the scapegoat.

You might also want to check with your local government and see if the tax rate now is even the same tax rate that it was in Sept when you closed, since in some cases the amount that is owed may have changed due to schools, fire dept, municipalities and other taxing entities changing their tax structure - this can be due to many things among them: a) laws and regulations that allow some schools and municipal functions to never lose revenue even if the property values decline (ie property values go down and the tax rates automatically go up to compensate) and b) people voting in new taxes for new and improved projects, etc Neither one of these would have been known in Sept and both would have caused your taxes to go up now.

You can state that you don't like your past Realtor and you don't think that your past Realtor treated you correctly, but don't sit there and make a blanket statement that all Realtors are liable for nothing & we don't do "due diligence" or protect our clients & we're only out to get a quick commission & move on. You obviously have no clue what GOOD Realtors do & how hard we work to protect people & take care of them. We don't walk away either, we're still there for them later if they need help.
Web Reference: http://www.yourstlhome.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 13, 2010
I do appreciate the information. I just have come to the conclusion that the realtor is liable for nothing and does the do diligence that they choose to do, or have time for based on how many listings and showings they have. I feel that the realtor is a sales person, and if their title reflected that the buyer would understand better what their role was and not rely on them as professional representation but a person trying to get their commission as quickly as possible (which i completely respect). I will not use agent in the future I don't feel that if something is "as simple" to find out as the agents who have responded to my question have stated then why wouldn't my agent be responsible? For most of us who don't buy and sell real estate every day, when we have a "buyers agent" it leads to complacecy on our part because we feel someone is working on our behalf instead of focusing on all the simple things like taxes. I would have saved a lot of money if i would have represented myself and I would have also saved on taxes because I would have asked you this question back in September when I closed. Good luck, and happy selling.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 13, 2010
the taxes are set by the county and are determined for the proration purposes of closing by the title company NOT the realtor, BUT they are determined based on the previous years taxes, unless the current year's taxes have already been announced. For example, if you close in Sept and the taxes have not yet been announced, then they use the previous year's taxes to determine what the rate will be and they prorate accordingly. They will tell you at closing that since the actual amount of the taxes is not known and cannot be known until the county announces it later in the year that you are liable for any differences between what is prorated and collected from the seller and what is actually owed. If the closing takes place later in the year (say Dec) after the taxes for the year have been announced, then the title company not only has a real number to work from, but they will collect the actual amount and pay it as part of closing. You can typically go into the county records (which are often online, if not go visit your local county courthouse) and check what the tax rate was for last year. Then do the division. If it wasn't prorated based on last year, then you need to talk to the title company (note, check how they prorate - by number of months or by actual number of days)
Web Reference: http://www.yourstlhome.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 13, 2010
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