Posted May 8, 2023 in Real Estate Trends
Beware of “Future Right To List Agreements.” These contracts result from telemarketing calls to homeowners, who are offered cash payments in return for the homeowner signing an agreement that, if they list their home for sale anytime within 40 years, the homeowner will list it with the agent that called them. The Washington legislature just passed a new law that reduces the potential harm by limiting the term of the agreement to 5 years instead of 40, but they are still a potential hidden landmine for homeowners.
These agreements are sometimes called “Homeowner Benefit Agreements,” and are signed either in front of a mobile notary or electronic phone or laptop) notary, then recorded with the County Auditor. If the signer lists their house for sale with another Realtor, the homeowner owes two commissions: one to the Realtor that listed and sold the property, and another to the firm that called them up years earlier. Importantly, the new state law says that future owners are not bound by the agreements, so they and their title company won’t get involved in a commission dispute caused by the prior owner.
Even though these agreements have only been around for a year, many have been recorded in Clark County alone. They are a national concern, and have been banned outright in several states. It’s been alleged that many people don’t understand what they are signing—we’ve seen evidence of that, in that some signers have listed their homes for sale with a different Realtor within days of agreeing to list with the telemarketing agent.
Also, watch out for ads for Home Title Lock. This service, advertised on the radio, says that they’ll make sure nobody steals the title to your house by recording a fraudulent deed. The service costs $19.95 a month! While it’s true that someone can record a fraudulent deed on your house, it’s very rare, and there’s a way to guard against it that is free instead of nearly $250 per year. It’s a free notification service offered by the Clark County Auditor that will email you if any document is recorded concerning your property. To sign up, go to https://edocs.clark.wa.gov/LandmarkWeb/FraudAlert.
Clark County Title wants to be a resource for you. If you have questions about buying, selling or refinancing real estate, give us a call. We’re happy to answer questions or refer you to someone who can. Our motto “Service is the Difference” means that, while all title companies sell the same products (title insurance and escrow services), our level of service sets us apart! Let us help you buy or sell real estate this year!
Here’s to May bringing lots of flowers to you and success to your real estate plans!
Your friends at Clark County Title,