Commission says Real Estate Agents Should Not Negotiate MD Short Sales

According to guidelines recently published by the Maryland Real Estate Commission on July 22, 2013, real estate agents are acting outside the scope of their license when negotiating short sales with mortgage lenders. The Commission specifically stated that “since the scope of the real estate license is limited by definition to assisting clients in the purchase, sale or lease of real property, the Real Estate Commission and the Commissioner of Financial Regulation consider that negotiation of a short-sale deficiency agreement or any other type of mortgage collection forbearance with a seller’s mortgage lender or servicer falls outside of the scope of a real estate license.”

Agents may still market and list a house for short sale, but should not act as a representative of the seller in discussions between the seller and the lender, to fall within the protection of their license and E&O policy. Agents are now required to inform sellers that the seller must either personally negotiate with the lender or hire a Mortgage Assistance Relief Service Provider or a Maryland attorney (such as Suren G. Adams, Adams Law Office, LLC) to conduct the negotiations. The full guidelines can be found by clicking here: MD Real Estate Commission Short-Sale Guidelines.

Why Everyone Needs an Estate Plan

The primary reason that everyone needs an estate plan is that if you fail to create a plan, the State will create one for you. The State legislature does not know anything about your family dynamics and the things that you value, so why leave such important decisions to them? If you are a parent, you should be the person deciding who will take care of your children if something happens to you? You should also be the person to decide who gets your assets after you are gone and to decide when and how they should be distributed?

Without a will, state laws of “intestate succession” kick in. In Maryland*, the following distributions would apply if you died without a will:

  • If survived by spouse and parents:
    – ½ of estate, plus $15,000 to spouse
    – Balance to parents
  • If survived by spouse and children:
    – ½ of estate to spouse; ½ to children
  • If survived by spouse and adult children:
    – ½ of estate, plus $15,000 to spouse
    – ½ of estate to children (not including step- children)
  • If no living heirs or step-children:
    – Estate goes to the Board of Education

If the intestate laws do not precisely reflect your wishes, a will and/or a revocable living trust is necessary.

*See MD Code Ann., Estates and Trusts §§ 3–101 et seq. (2003) for a complete description of intestate distributions.

Another reason that everyone needs an estate plan is that a well planned estate is a valuable gift to your loved ones at a time when they will be least able to make important decisions. If you have ever had to suffer through the loss of a loved one, this is all too true for you. Your family should be able to focus on honoring your memory rather than figuring out how to pay bills when the bank will no longer allow access to accounts, or deciding who gets what assets.

A well planned estate also has the following benefits:

  • Designate guardian(s) for your children
  • Minimize time and complication of probate
  • Potential to reduce taxes and fees
  • Avoid court appointed guardianship
  • Express your wishes regarding life support, etc.
  • You decide the distribution of your property, rather than the government

Adams Law Office, LLC is a suburban Maryland and Washington, DC metropolitan law firm assisting clients with the development of a plan for the distribution of their property after death through individualized advice and preparation of applicable documents, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and advance healthcare directives. Call 301-805-5892 for a free consultation

Rebuilding your credit post- bankruptcy discharge

I have been getting more and more calls from my former bankruptcy clients, who have been working hard on rebuilding their credit and savings post- bankruptcy discharge, asking when they can qualify to buy a home. The answer used to be 2-4 years, but there are several mortgage companies out there who have been opening up financing for post-bankruptcy clients to as soon as 1 day after discharge (see https://www.peoplesbankmtg.com/mortgage-after-bankruptcy/).

There are specific strategies you can use to rebuild your credit score and if you actively save the money that you had been spending on debt prior to your bankruptcy, you can be in an even better position to get a good rate when financing the purchase of your home. Let us know your situation and we can connect you with the best strategy for taking advantage of the fresh start you received from your bankruptcy discharge.

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