Dear Michael: I signed a listing agreement, but am having second thoughts about selling. How do I cancel my listing? And will it cost me anything?
Answer: Since your cooperation is required to sell the house, most agents won't give the seller a hard time about canceling. The listing agents hope is that when you do later decide to sell your home, you will get back in touch with him/her. The cancellation agreement states that you cannot sell the home during the original length of the listing period, so if you attempt to put it back on the market during the contracted listing period using another agent, your original agent will attempt to enforce his/her contract. In all fairness if you’re listing agent performed his/her duties diligently, he/she should be chosen to re-list your home when you decide to put it back on the market.
Dear Michael: We put our home up for sale and the square footage is way off. Is a garage usually considered in the square footage of a home? It is attached to the home.
Answer: Although a garage is attached to the home, it is not considered part of the home's square footage. That is because only livable space is considered in the square footage calculation. Calculating the square footage of a home is not as easy as it sounds. Neither real estate agents nor homeowners should attempt the calculation (at least not if you want a reliable figure). Rarely are houses perfectly square, which is one reason for the difficulty. Appraisers map out the house on a piece of graph paper, calculate all the edges, come up with "mini-areas" for each rectangle - and then add them all together. Plus, there are other intricate rules. If there has been an addition to the house and the owner did not receive a building permit, then that section of the house may not be allowable as part of the square footage. The same with attic and basement conversions, lofts, and so on. It is best to rely on a licensed appraiser to recalculate the square footage of a house. When a home's square footage is advertised, the figure usually comes from the assessor and as far back as when the builder completed the home. Homeowners and real estate agents should not calculate square footage. Best leave the expert to calculate the square footage and have one less liability to worry about.
Dear Michael: I am a buyer who has entered into a contract to purchase a house. Unfortunately the three owners are having a "family feud" and cannot agree on anything. The sale of the house closes in 2 weeks and the lock-in rate on my loan is up in a few days. What can I do?
Answer: You may have to rent a motel or move in with friends or family until the issue is resolved. There is risk in buying real estate, and moving plans often have to be altered. No one can guarantee a sale will close on an exact day because situations can come up unexpectedly and they often do. Fortunately mortgage rates may have declined since you locked in your interest rate. Most lenders will extend a lock (once it expires) at the current rate you originally locked the loan. So most likely, you will not be hurting your interest rate because of the delay. In short, you're pretty much stuck and you have to hope the sellers can work out their problems quickly or you can opt to cancel the purchase. Please consult with a realtor or real estate attorney if canceling is your option.
Michael Kayem is a Realtor with Re/max /Execs serving Culver City and the Westside since 2001. You can contact Michael with your questions at 310-390-3337 or e-mail them to him at: firstname.lastname@example.org