60 Seconds in Real Estate, Cary NC: One to Buy, Two to Sell

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Realty Arts NC Broker License #235526
60 Seconds in Real Estate, Cary NC

One to Buy, Two to Sell  

Often conversation with homesellers can become awkward when the topic of marriage arises, as in, "Have you been married at any time while you  have owned this home?"

When I am talking to ONE Seller, things can become quickly complicated when they say something like, "Yes, but we are separated/divorced."  Or, "I owned the house before we were married, and he/she didn't help pay for it.  He/she has nothing to say about the sale."

Well....  It depends.  In North Carolina, we are a "One to buy, Two to sell," meaning that a long-lost spouse or ex-spouse may have a financial interest in the property.
Horror stories of shock and surprise abound.....

One of the responsibilities of a Listing agent is to attempt within reason to ensure that the Seller can actually legally SELL the property.  No one wants to list a home for sale, and find that there is another Seller who is not on the listing agreement, and then have an irate Buyer and Buyers Agent.
And, it is important to note, I am not an attorney, and cannot offer legal advice.  But, often it is necessary to access a legal opinion as to who must approve the sale.  I have spoken with divorce attorneys, and have received "Free Trader" agreement copies, and either way has put my mind at ease that I can market a property with confidence that it can be conveyed.
And sometimes, the former spouses have to bury the hatchet long enough to consummate a real estate transaction.  That process can be unnerving to all involved.

The topic seemed worthy of a 60 Seconds in Real Estate vlog:


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Scan the QR Code with your Smartphone to Email MeQR CodeMike Jaquish, REALTOR®

919-880-2769 www.RealtyArts.com

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Independent Broker/Owner, Realty Arts

130 Towerview Court,

Cary, NC


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Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thanks for the post. I had a settlement once where the seller found out at settlement that her ex was on the deed and she cried because she had purchased it before they were married. I had the buyers . They had to get in touch withe the ex and resolve it .Settlement had to be delayed .

Jun 16, 2011 11:57 PM #1
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good post Mike. It has been awhile since I had these concerns, but always good to clarify.

Jun 16, 2011 11:58 PM #2
Jim O'Donnell
Raleigh Cary Realty - Fuquay Varina, NC

do you remember the nightmare I had with a harnett county listing of mine a couple of years ago?

I asked the right question, but didn't dig deep enough

Jun 17, 2011 02:39 AM #3
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

Great info Mike, and again done in 60 seconds!  I temporarily "lost" a buyer because his divorce wasn't finallized yet when I suggested he talk to a lawyer about his future ex owning his new home. He's now waiting to buy, but thanking me profusely for the tip!

Jun 18, 2011 03:46 AM #4
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Mike-Texas is also a one to buy, two to sell state. You're right-this needs to be identified up front to avoid surprises at late in the game.

Jun 18, 2011 02:43 PM #5
Dianne Goode
Raleigh Cary Realty - Raleigh, NC

Mike,  "Two to sell" is certain, but "One to buy" turns out not to be.  I recently helped a mom buy a home for her son to live in and rent back from her.   The contract was in the mom's name  and it was entirely her project, even though she was married.   Late in the process, we were told that the lender required her husband's signature on the loan docs.  He was amenable so it wasn't a problem -- but now I know to make sure at the beginning that, if asked, the second spouse will sign.

Jun 19, 2011 02:08 AM #6
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


I think "One to Buy" is pretty certain.

It seems you bumped into "One to Borrow," which is much less certain.

Most any lender will have a spouse sign the Deed of Trust to acknowledge that the debt is brought into the marital union.

Another reason that "Cash is King."

Jun 19, 2011 02:16 AM #7
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


I have heard similar stories. Nightmarish.


It pays to be on your toes. This is an item I have bumped into a few times lately.


Harnett County is beautiful country!


Good Job!


Thanks. It is interesting sometimes where the quest for clarity will lead us.

Jun 19, 2011 02:55 AM #8
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