What Are You Hiding?

Real Estate Agent with United Real Estate TX #0552717

Last week, one of my clients had his offer accepted on a house he wanted to buy as an investment property. Prior to execution of the contract, there were disclosures and notices to sign, i.e., Seller Disclosure and Lead Paint notices, and a Disclosure of Relationship with Residential Service Company.

The latter notice let my client know that the broker/sales agent receives compensation from the {XYZ Home Warranty Company} for providing admin/marketing services. This is all above board, as it should be.Designated Title

One of the points we negotiated on, prior to arriving at consensus with the seller, was the use of the title company the seller (I'm 10000% certain the seller could care less and it was the listing agent) wanted to use. I had never heard of this title company, but if it meant my client could get the house, we'd close wherever they wanted us to close.

Fast forward a day. I headed out to drop off the earnest money and option checks. And guess where the title company is located? Inside the real estate broker's office. No big deal. At my office, United Real Estate Dallas, we have Fair Texas Title closers who are onsite twice a week. But there is no direct relationship between them and United. They are not real estate agents, they are only sharing space with us. It turns out that the closer the listing agent had us agree to use is an attorney for the brokerage she's affiliated with. This all seems a little dishonest. I was extremely uncomfortable with the situation.

My broker suggested I call the Texas Association of REALTORS Legal Hotline, which I did. One of the TAR attorneys called me back and said this relationship should have been disclosed prior to execution of the contract. I asked if there was a form for this, like there is a form to the Disclosure of Relationship with Residential Service Company. He said there isn't a form, but the disclosure could have been made in the Special Provisions paragraph of the contract.

My client eventually terminated the contract due to the seller's unwillingness to make repairs or reduce the price. Once we terminated, I emailed both the listing agent and the title company closer/attorney and explained what TAR said needed to be done. A few hours later, the owner of the title company called me to tell me he disagrees with the TAR decision and that he will not have agents in that brokerage provide notice before execution of a contract. He will have the parties to the contract sign something along those lines at the closing table.

One of the first things we learn in real estate is disclose, disclose, disclose. I don't understand - what does this title company have to hide?

Posted by

Lorrie Semler, e-PRO, GRI, SRES, CPRES, CRS
Addison Resident/Addison Specialist                                                      Subscribe Button
Real Service. Real Results. Real Estate.
United Real Estate


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Award for Best Residential Real Estate Agent.     

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William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Should be disclosed up front. I would make a point to say something

Feb 17, 2018 02:56 PM #1
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Lorrie

That certainly sounded fishy to me and my first thought was that relationship needed to be disclosed. Seems to me it's not up to the owner or the title company to make the decision about disclosure or not but maybe things are different there. Why would you NOT want to disclose?


Feb 17, 2018 04:39 PM #2
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I'm so sorry, that's weird. Disclosures and transparency keeps us all out of trouble I don't get it. D 

Feb 17, 2018 04:56 PM #4
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I've been licensed 36 years and have seen some weird things in those years.  However, I have never seen a title company embedded in a real estate office.

Feb 17, 2018 04:59 PM #5
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Disclose at the closing table?  That's just wrong!  Perhaps TAR needs to be notified of their attitude and let them deal with it. 

Feb 18, 2018 07:14 AM #7
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

That is a surprising tact that the title company has taken Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417 and I believe that you need update TAR and let them deal with this situation.

Feb 24, 2018 02:33 PM #8
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Sometimes, it takes a little bit after work and some good intuition. This is the name of my game a lot of the time.

Mar 11, 2018 08:38 PM #9
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I would update the terms as well. That’s a really good suggestion. In fact, I might do that immediately, if not sooner. Lisa Von Domek

Mar 11, 2018 08:39 PM #10
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Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

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