Riverside Realtor Blog - Alma Dizon

Alma shares her experiences and observations as a Realtor in Riverside California.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Don't Sign that Blank Contract!

It's just not a good idea to sign any forms that haven't had all the dates, dollar amounts, and commission percentages filled in. If your agent says that he or she can do it later, ask, "Why not now? I'm not in a hurry."

A few weeks ago, the front desk at my office buzzed me to come and help translate for a Spanish-speaking woman. Her story was a sad one.

She wanted to list her mobile home, which had previously been listed. However, the carbon copies she had of the contracts were all blank except for her signatures, dates, and initials. She told me that the agent had "cancelled" the listing at her insistence because she'd never received a single offer. However, the "cancellation" consisted of the agent's signature on the back, a date, and a "K" in a circle.

I explained to the woman that a cancellation form does exist, and she should get the agent to sign it since, if she listed again with someone else and the property sold, she might be liable to pay 2 commissions. Unfortunately, she told me that agent had changed companies, and no one seemed able to find her.

I also told her then that her agreement had originally been with the company that the agent had worked for. While many companies (but not Tarbell) allow agents to take their listings with them when they leave, the office should nonetheless have some documentation regarding the listing. Also, I told her, the agent's current company would show up on the Department of Real Estate website, and the former broker should at least help her get that information.

Hopefully, she'll never sign a blank form again. Who knows how the agent might fill in the blanks? A 12-month listing with a 50% commission? And be sure to get a link to see the listing on the public site of the MLS. You won't be able to see the commission, but you'll see if the price changes without your signing a listing amendment.

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