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Ask Dave Kennett Your Own Question

Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27686
Experience:  25 years experience
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I listed my house with a realtor and told her that my husband

Customer Question

I listed my house with a realtor and told her that my husband was also on the title. she insisted that he was not on the title and I signed the contract. an offer was excepted on the house, but my husband does not want to sell. He is refusing to sign an addendum for the contract. Can I be sued by the buyers and the real estate agent?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 1 year ago.
Dear JACUSTOMER - Whenever I am asked "can I be sued" I always have to say that anyone can sue anyone so the answer would be yes. The real question is whether there is a viable case that someone could win if they filed a suit and in this case it is my opinion that the Realtor was negligent in not having both of you sign the listing agreement. Anyone in the real estate business, lawyer or Realtor or whoever, should know that in order to sell real estate owned by a married person you must have both parties sign the deed. So it makes no sense to list a property with the signature of only one pf the married persons since the other party can refuse to sign the deed or the contract and there would be no sale. If you had represented that you were single then there would be a case for misrepresentation but here it is the Realtor who could be sued by the buyer but I see no case against you. Having said all of this, you must keep in mind that if you are sued you will have to defend the suit which could cost some money for legal fees.
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27686
Experience: 25 years experience
Dave Kennett and 3 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi the incident has escalated. The Realtor is saying that I never told her my husband was on the title until after the buyers offer was accepted pending all the inspections and appraisal. That is not the truth. I have a text from her saying, O you were right he is on the title. She acknowledged the recording of the deed, with his name, on April 11th, 2013, and still entered into a contract on April 13th, 2013.


She just sent an e-mail saying the agent (the mother of the buyer and the friend of our agent) said the buyer has already purchased new appliances (they were not taking possession of the house until the end of June) and they have ordered an appraisal.


 


Today my husband talked to our agent informing her that as a result of no knowledge, presence, participation, and most importantly signature on the contract that this entire matter began on an illegal note, or at minimum a non-binding contract.


 


The buyer had until Sunday to return the inspection and it mysteriously appeared in my e-mail tonight.


 


Our questions are: do we have a legally binding contract with only one spouse's signature?


 


and


 


Can we talk to you directly about this case?


 


and


 


We were told by other Realtors to send a letter to the Board of Realtors to report this incident. Should we?


 



We look forward to any help you can give us.


 


 


 

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 1 year ago.
I am not permitted to give specific legal advice from this website pursuant to our disclaimers. We are here for general information and we cannot represent clients or prepare documents etc. My opinion is that, if you can show the agent knew of the joint ownership, the agent should also have known that both parties must sign. Not only that but even if the agent didn't know it was joint ownership she should still have had both parties sign since both spouses in a marriage must sign the deed to sell the property. Anyone involved in real estate should be aware of that rule. So it makes no sense for any Realtor to rely on the signature of one spouse in proceeding with the sale of real estate of a married couple unless both parties have signed the listing and sales contract. Based on that I do not believe it is a binding contract to sell but that doesn't mean you can't be sued. They can't force you to sell in an action for specific performance since your husband is not part of the contract but they could sue for monetary damages. I doubt they would win but it can be expensive defending lawsuits. The Realtor is the person who was negligent in all of this due to her lack of knowledge of the real estate laws.

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