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Get the Facts is our weekly e-newsletter sent out every Tuesday. Find links to current industry related articles, resources, member benefits, career help, and the popular Legal Hotline Question of the Week! Browse through current and previous editions of Get the Facts below.  For questions or comments regarding the weekly e-newsletter, email Cara McNeil at cara.mcneil@warealtor.org or call 1-800-562-6024, ext. 126.

Any information contained within Get the Facts does not constitute legal counsel. The Legal Hotline Attorney does not represent Washington REALTORS® nor Washington REALTOR® members. Always consult with your designated broker/owner for brokerage practices. The Legal Hotline Q & A of the week is designed for and distributed to Washington REALTOR® Members. If you are a member and you have further questions about the Legal Hotline Q & A of the week, please email the Legal Hotline Attorney at legalhotline@warealtor.org.



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  • November

    November 6

    Friday Video Update, November 6th Edition

    Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons and Managing Broker Eric Shull with John L. Scott Kent North filmed a special special supplemental series to "Inspection Week" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGfu7...). In this series, Annie and Eric dig a little deeper into the Form 35R - Inspection Contingency as a negotiation tool and how to use it most effectively. This first video in the series covers a topic that many brokers want clarification on...counting dates, or the Computation of Time. They review counting dates for the initial inspection period, the additional inspection period, and Form 35R request for repairs...and more.


    Read More...

    November 3

    Get the Facts, November 3rd Edition

    Are there State regulations regarding a licensee as a Principal in a transaction running the transaction through their brokerage? Or does state law allow a FSBO from a licensed Broker? Read More...

    October

    October 27

    Get the Facts, October 27th Edition

    I wrote an offer on a home where there is a power of attorney. The daughter is trying to sell the home for her mom who is now in a nursing home. When writing up the purchase and sale documents, do you include the daughter's (POA) name as one of the sellers or just the mom's name (the legal owner)? Read More...

    October 20

    Get the Facts, October 20th Edition

    How important to a buyer is the “will” or “will not” choice on paragraph 3C (appraisal less than sales price) on the Form 22A? Read More...

    October 16

    Friday Video Update, October 16th Edition

    "How should brokers use Paragraph 16 (the addendum line) on Form 21 and what is the significance of forms being referenced on that line but not included in the Purchase Agreement (or vice versa, forms being included but not referenced on that line)?" Read More...

    October 13

    Get the Facts, October 13th Edition

    If a buyer does not include a Form 35 but wants to perform a home inspection to get a better understanding of the home during the pending process, can a seller refuse to allow them to do so? Read More...

    October 09

    Friday Video Update, October 9th Edition

    "Is it true that a seller 'rent back' is subject to the Governor's moratorium on evictions?"


    Read More...

    October 7 2020

    Open House Guidance (sent in lieu of Get the Facts)

    Read More...

    October 02

    Friday Video Update, October 2nd Edition

    "The Spokane Association of REALTORS® recently conducted a roundtable focused on errors and omissions issues. They stressed the importance of immediately reporting claims. Why is that important and couldn't that result in increased premiums?" Read More...

    September

    September 29

    Get the Facts, September 29th Edition

    I have a seller who refuses to sign the FHA Amendatory Clause from the buyer's lender. Is she legally obligated to sign the document? Read More...

    September 22

    Get the Facts, September 22nd Edition

    Would you explain what it means if Form 22A, paragraph 3(c) is left unchecked? Read More...

    September 19

    Friday Video Update, September 18th Edition

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    September 15

    Get the Facts, September 15th Edition

    I had a question regarding rent backs after closing and how those tie into the current eviction moratorium going on in the state? I do not have a situation that I am currently dealing with, but depending on your answer, I would steer even further clearer of the rent backs at the present moment. Read More...

    September 08

    Get the Facts, September 8th Edition

    We are seeing agents write offers and scratch out Paragraph W of Form 21, Information Verification Period. Can you explain how this would benefit either party?  Read More...

    September 01

    Get the Facts, September 1 Edition

    I am the listing agent. There is a Financing Addendum that allows Seller to send a notice of Seller's Right to Terminate on day 30. On day 30, I delivered this notice (Form 22AR) to the buyer broker. On day three after I delivered this notice, I received a reply on this same notice that buyer is waiving the financing contingency. However, buyer broker amended the notice by writing the words "Subject to attached form 34," and then attached a Form 34 which reads, "Buyer and seller agree buyer is waiving financing contingency with the exception of the appraisal contingency."... Read More...

    August

    August 28

    Friday Video Update, August 28th Edition

    "Why should listing broker, especially, be aware of whether the buyer's earnest money is timely deposited and immediately advise the seller if it is not?" Read More...

    August 25

    Get the Facts, August 25th Edition

    I recently received a 22AL requesting loan information about my buyer's loan status. I sent a 22AP to the lender for completion. The lender responded with: "the application is moving along". I requested more specific information via the 22AP and the loan officer forwarded the 22AP to the loan processor who said: "I have received direction from management and this is not something we can take the responsibility for filling out." To comply with the 3-day deadline, I sent the 22AP to the buyers and asked them to complete it to the best of their knowledge. Am I using the 22AP correctly and is it okay for the buyers to complete it if the lender refuses?  Read More...

    August 21

    Friday Video Update, August 21st Edition

    "Recently, a client of mine put the first offer in on a property. I asked the listing broker to please keep us informed if other offers came in so that we could stay in the game. The listing broker informed me that they, 'didn't want to violate state license law by disclosing the terms of any other offers'. I disagree with that. So here's my question: Are the details of a buyer's offer ever confidential? Can the buyer put anything in their offer to make it confidential?" Read More...

    August 18

    Get the Facts, August 18th Edition

    Due to the inventory shortage, I have more buyers than properties available. Occasionally, two buyers have interest in the same property. Are we allowed (with disclosure) to write two offers on the same property? What is the proper protocol?  Read More...

    August 14

    Friday Video Update, August 14th Edition

    "How best can a buyer broker document that their buyer is relying on money from the Washington State Bond Down Payment Assistance Program (a contingent source of funds) in a purchase and sale agreement?" Read More...

    August 11

    Get the Facts, August 11th Edition

    I just came across a broker who is insisting that we only use the one original 35R form with each party marking, initialing and signing their section on that original Form 35R.  I prefer to have the buyer reply on a clean Form 35R. Can you tell me if it is necessary for us to use the original Form 35R only? Read More...

    August 7

    Friday Video Update, August 7th Edition

    "Wouldn't it be prudent for a listing agent to use the 22EF when a buyer is representing that they have non-contingent funds as a down payment in order to close the transaction? So often, we see buyer's brokers making the mistake of representing their buyer who has non-contingent funds when those funds are really contingent. And if the listing agent is not going to use that addendum, at least, have in material communications evidence that they've had that conversation with the seller around using 22EF and why. If the listing agent never does that, then, could the listing agent be accused of not representing their seller to the standard and care of an attorney?" Read More...

    August 4

    Get the Facts, August 4th Edition

    I am a buyer's agent and I am looking for success for my buyers in what is a very competitive market. We have lost out on three properties so far in multiple bid situations. I am a relatively new broker and realize that there are strategies that I am unaware of and that might be helpful, but I am nervous to use them unless I fully understand them.  Read More...

    July

    July 28

    Get the Facts, July 28th Edition

    Does the Governor’s current moratorium on evictions also apply to a seller who does not vacate per a post-closing possession rental agreement Read More...

    July 24

    Friday Video Update, July 24th Edition

    "My broker received the following question: 'My family found a house and they don't really need your services. They just want to know if you can write it up for us.' or 'I found a buyer for my house and all I need you to do is write it up for us; can you do that?' How would the Legal Hotline respond to those requests?" Read More...

    July 21

    Get the Facts, July 21 Edition

    I am the Listing Agent on a house that is currently Pending. The Buyer's agent called me 10 days ago and said that the Buyers will be unable to proceed forward with the purchase as their 401k that was going to be used for down payment and closing costs had gone from $80,000 down to $6,000 during this virus crisis. I called for a loan denial letter and a rescission agreement form, but I only received the rescission form. Seller refused to sign the form...

    Read More...

    July 17

    Friday Video Update, July 17th Edition

    I'm getting more and more buyer agency agreements turned into my office...it has the buyer's signature and the broker's signature, but nothing filled in under the compensation or the area. Can you help explain to brokers the importance of this and what the repercussions are if it is not filled out? Read More...

    July 14

    Get the Facts, July 14th Edition

    I have a question on inspections that fail to identify an issue. An inspection report failed to identify an improperly installed glass slider door, so that when my Buyers moved in, they discovered that the “sticky” door was really a costly replacement after the fact. As a new broker, I felt the inspection company should have identified this so that we could have asked for this in negotiations. When I asked my managing broker who is ultimately responsible, he stated that I am, and offered to assist in compensating Buyers. What do you say? Read More...

    July 10

    Friday Video Update, July 10th Edition

    "When a buyer has a form 22A (Financing Addendum) in the transaction and their loan is declined but they still have a couple of weeks before closing, can they use the decline letter from the first lender in case they don't get the second loan closed in time?" Read More...

    July 7

    Get the Facts, July 7th Edition

    Buyer broker is writing an offer using the WA State Bond money.  In the 22A, I would write FHA loan type with 3.5% down.  Some say it’s a zero down loan. Others say that since buyer is taking a loan (bond money) to get the money and then putting it down, buyer should say they are putting 3.5% down. I think that they are putting money down. A USDA loan or a VA loan would be zero down but bond is 3.5.  Is there a rule for this?  Read More...

    July 3

    Friday Video Update, July 03rd Edition

    What exact, express or implied, authority to agents have? And how can we better train agents to know what they do and don't have the authority to do? Watch the video...

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    June

    June 30

    Get the Facts, June 30th Edition

    Since the "Fourth of July" is on a Saturday this year, how will that impact counting days?   Read More...

    June 26

    Friday Video Update, June 26th Edition

    What does listing broker tell their seller when, after mutual agreement, seller has a change of heart and no longer wants to sell their home? We know when buyer breaches a contract, they forfeit their earnest money; what are the consequences to seller if they decide to breach a contract? 

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    June 23

    Get the Facts, June 23rd Edition

    I have some married couples in my agency and a few function as real estate teams.  My question is: don't both brokers need to be on thelisting agreements and/or the buyer’s rep agreements (or at the very least have a sub-agency agreement)?  I assume if one spouse is strictly a TC and the other does not share any personal info with the TC that they would be covered.  But if both spouses are actively working with theclient and sharing info back and forth there needs to be an agency relationship with both of them. Correct? Read More...

    June 16

    Get the Facts, June 16th Edition

    I have two listings that just went pending and I want to make sure, as a Listing Broker, that I know exactly what is happening with the buyer’s financing. I do not want any surprises because it seems like buyers losing jobs at any moment is now happening more frequently. To be A+, when should I give the Buyer’s Broker form 22AP, on what day and how many times in the transaction? Also if there is anything else I can do or another form I am not aware of, please advise. Read More...

    June 09

    Get the Facts, June 9th Edition

    Do you have any guidance on what to do if we get a listing and theowners have been diagnosed with covid-19 and will still be living there? Read More...

    June 2

    Get the Facts, June 2 Edition

    Say you have a listing that just "Pended" and you get a call from a buyer's agent who showed the property one or more times but is NOT the agent representing the buyer on the PSA and they ask you, "what is the buyer's name?"  As the listing agent, do you answer their question? Read More...

    May

    May 26

    Get the Facts, May 26th Edition

    Our firm’s brokers are constantly being asked to list all utilities on 22K regardless of whether the utilities have lien rights or not. My brokers respond by saying the form is only for identifying utilities with lien rights, not all utilities serving the property. It has been a constant battle to use the form just for lienable utilites. Can you clarify the proper use for this form and the pros and cons of writing in all utilities? Read More...

    May 12

    Get the Facts, May 12th Edition

    QUESTION OF THE WEEK

    My question concerns the Inspection Contingency, Form 35. It allows buyer to ask for repairs/concessions, which triggers a 3-day response from seller. If seller does not agree to everything but instead, sends a counteroffer, does that trigger a new 3-day response from the buyer? If so, can this back and forth continue until there is an agreement or buyer rejects and terminates the contract? I was sure there was a time limit but I have heard you can go back and forth as many times as you want.

    Read More...

    April

    April 01

    Get the Facts & The Friday Video Update on Hold

    Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Washington REALTORS put our regular Get the Facts & the Friday Video Update communications on hold to focus on Daily Updates on our Covid-19 page. 

    Regular communications will resume May 12, 2020.


    Read More...

    March

    March 20

    Friday Video Update, March 20th Edition

    WR Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons explains the new form (Form 22FM - Force Majeure And Closing Addendum). In addition to this video, please review the NWMLS Legal Bulletin for a detailed explanation as to the purpose of the new form and how to use it. Read More...

    March 17

    Get the Facts, March 17th Edition

    I have been seeing a lot of contracts with hand written wording saying that the parties agree to automatically extend for 3 days if something beyond their control delays the closing. In some cases, brokers are writing automatic extensions for 30 days for problems resulting directly from the Corona virus quarantines. Is that contractually binding?  If it is, what wording do you suggest be used? Read More...

    March 13

    Friday Video Update, March 13th Edition

    WR Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons has some helpful tips for you and your clients when it comes to the Coronavirus and safety. Read More...

    March 10

    Get the Facts, March 10th Edition

    I'm studying for my first license renewal. In my materials I came across this statement regarding a multiple offer situation: "Sellers can counter more than one offer and each counter can be different. Even if one of the buyers accepts the seller's counter under these circumstances, the seller does not have to accept the buyer's acceptance." What!?! This seems incorrect to me. Wouldn't the seller be contractually liable to fulfill each contract that was offered and agreed to? Read More...

    March 06

    Friday Video Update, March 6th Edition

    There have been a number of revisions to regulations pertaining to the Fair Housing Act over the years. One of the topics trending on the Legal Hotline surrounds comfort animals, which our WR Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons has clarification on. We recorded highlights from her recent class on this topic (and others to come in the following weeks) so that you can stay informed. Read More...

    March 03

    Get the Facts, March 3rd Edition

    Buyer & seller reach mutual acceptance on sellers property. Buyer did not ask for the security system on page 1 of P&S. In addition, on optional clauses, seller did not check the box that the security system is leased. Seller did however make a note on the Form 17 (sellers disclosure) instructing buyer “Security system–leased. Contract ends in May, Approximately $60 per month–cannot cancel, new owner will be responsible to pay remaining balance”. In reality the security contract could be cancelled, but seller would need to buy it out to cancel it. She just didn’t want to. Since this was not in the contract, but was hand written in on the sellers disclosure (which buyer did acknowledged by signing)–is the buyer responsible? They do not want to use that security company. 

    Read More...

    February

    February 28

    Friday Video Update, February 28th Edition

    Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons addresses this question from a member... A married buyer is purchasing separately from their spouse for whatever reason (the spouse's name will not be on the title). The question comes from the listing broker: "How do I protect my seller to make sure that we don't experience problems when we get to the closing table?" Annie explains how that scenario plays out in Washington...which happens to be a community property state. Read More...

    February 25

    Get the Facts, February 25th Edition

    I have a question about the specifics around sellers refusing to receive inspection results and then refusing to acknowledge relevant findings. If a buyer gets a home inspection by an inspector properly licensed under the RCW, does a denial of their findings by the seller and a questioning of the item's legitimacy count as a request for additional details or proof? Are they allowed to just refuse all information? The seller countered buyer's inspection response by saying that the inspector was a liar, and that the specialist bids attached were inflated. Seller then refused any information or photos. Was this legal? Is a seller able to refuse inspection findings under all circumstances?

    Read More...

    February 21

    Friday Video, February 21 Edition

    Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons addresses these two scenarios...

    1. Two brokers usually work together, whether they're representing a buyer or a seller. It turns out, in this scenario, that the two team members would like to represent different buyers, both interested in the same property. Is it lawful for each of the team members to represent a different buyer competing against each other?

    2. Two brokers representing a seller together (both brokers are identified in the listing agreement as representing the seller. Now, one broker on that team has a buyer. Is broker allowed to break away from representing the seller and represent the buyer?

    Read More...

    February 18

    Get the Facts, February 18th Edition

    After watching a couple of your inspection-related videos, I just want to make sure I understand which professionals buyer is allowed to have in the house during the initial inspection period. Home inspector, obviously. Sewer scope technician who’s not a general home inspector, yes? Licensed plumber? Licensed electrician? Licensed roofer? Licensed HVAC contractor? Is a general contractor allowed in the house during the initial inspection period with seller consent? Is seller consent required for general contractor access during additional inspection time period? Read More...

    February 14

    Friday Video, February 14th Edition

    Do you have to send landlords and tenants the Agency Law pamphlet?Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons answers... Read More...

    February 11

    Get the Facts, February 11th Edition

    Broker is hoping to list property and prior to the listing go active, broker will help seller remodel/remodel for seller, a bathroom in seller's house. The remodeling may include plumbing, electrical and/or structural work. Broker has only a RE license. Can broker do this work for seller? In a different situation, seller has agreed to perform Form 35R repair requests for buyer. Can listing broker personally make those repairs for seller? Again, broker has only a RE license.

    Read More...

    February 07

    Friday Video, February 7th Edition

    Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons answers the following question: "How important is a Buyer walk-through in a post-closing litigation?" Read More...

    February 04

    Get the Facts, February 4th Edition

    We’ve watched your video series regarding the Buyer’s Agency Agreement and are grateful for all the help. We will be doing in-house role playing. While not a legal question: What do you suggest when working with buyers who do not have additional funds beyond their down payment? Also, since 41A creates the agency relationship with the buyer, does that mean brokers are not able to work with other buyers in the same area & price range? Read More...

    January

    January 31

    Friday Video Update, January 31 Edition

    Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons answers the following common question: "What does the listing broker or seller have to disclose with respect to the condition of seller's property?" Read More...

    January 30

    2020 Legislative Day Recap

    Almost 500 REALTORS® and Affiliates showed up for the WR Legislative Day event on January 22-23rd in Olympia! The sheer number of REALTORS® who came from all over our state to represent members and property owners is a statement to our Legislators in itself and we are thrilled that over 120 of the members who registered were first-time attendees! Washington REALTORS® thanks all of you for your time and efforts. Read More...

    January 28

    Get the Facts, January 28 Edition

    QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
    I’ve been told that as a Property Management company in Washington, we CANNOT deny an applicant based on a criminal record. While taking a continuing education class, I found a slide stating that we can discriminate on that basis. What is your take? Read More...

    January 24

    Friday Video Update, January 24 Edition

    "As real estate brokers, how do we document 'First Right of Refusal'?" Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons answers... Read More...

    January 21

    Get the Facts, January 21 Edition

    QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
    Regret how "picky" this question is, but the whole discussion can be. On Form 17, Line 3D(5), under Sewer/On-Site Sewage System, the Seller writes the number of bedrooms in the blank. But Seller DOES NOT check a box because neither box applies (the only two boxes are "don't know" and "N/A").  I presume it is acceptable to have this line with no box checked because something was written on the subject line. I'm only concerned because last week's Friday Video said that exactly one box should be marked on every horizontal set of four boxes…granted, there are only two boxes on this question. Read More...

    January 17

    Friday Video Update, January 17 Edition

    LEGAL HOTLINE, Form 17, Seller Disclosure Statement
    As a Seller's Agent, how do I ensure the Form 17 (Seller Disclosure Statement) is accurate, so that I protect the Seller from future liability for failing to disclose material matters while not crossing the line into directing or advising the Seller? Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons answers... Read More...

    January 14

    Get the Facts, January 14 Edition

    QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
    I recently had an accepted offer where, in all the signature lines and initial blocks, the seller signed by writing the actual company name but no representative of the company actually signed. The listing agent said this is okay but she did send an addendum identifying the "seller's full name as John Doe" and then explaining that the "property was bought and sold under his LLC: JD Investments LLC". All of the documents were signed and/or initialed by "JD Investments LLC". The signature of a human being never appears.  Do we have a binding contract? Read More...

    January 10

    Friday Video Update, January 10 Edition

    LEGAL HOTLINE: THE LIABILITY BUCK STOPS WHERE?

    Broker refers contractors, seller hires contractor, transaction closes and seller does not pay contractors, contractors try to collect payment from broker. Does broker have any liability in this situation? Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons answers...
    Read More...

    January 9

    Broker Alert, B&O Tax Letter

    Washington REALTORS® has learned that some real estate firms may have received a notice from the Washington Department of Revenue (WDOR) stating that effective January 1, 2020, real estate firms are subject to the state’s new “Workforce Education Surcharge,” which is a 20% (.3%) increase in the state’s business and occupation (B&O) tax rate. 

    This notice from WDOR is in error - the law passed by the Legislature in 2019 did not impose the new B&O tax surcharge on income from real estate brokerage activity. While some professional services will be subject to this B&O tax increase, REALTORS® worked to exclude real estate brokerage income from the surcharge. Washington REALTORS® Government Affairs staff is addressing this issue with WDOR management immediately and will provide clarification in the near future. Read More...

    January 07

    Get the Facts, January 7 Edition

    QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
    The seller died in the condo and he wasn’t found for two months.  When I was called to talk with the seller, the hazmat team had cleaned the home and a restoration company has been hired to finish the cleaning, painting, replace carpets, etc.  The HVAC cannot be turned on as it will re-contaminate the condo and it will cost $30,000 to re-clean the condo (according to the seller).  There will be no seller disclosures of course.  What challenges do you see with this situation?  Read More...

    January 3

    Friday Video Update, January 3 Edition

    LEGAL HOTLINE: BROKERS WITH ATTACHMENT ISSUES...
    brokers are attaching irrelevant (and excessive) documents to buyer's offer. Here's why Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons discourages this... Read More...