What You Might Not Know About a Power of Attorney

By
Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate BRE #00697006

Most agents just sell real estate and don't always pay a lot of attention to the specifics of legal documents. Paperwork is often the last thing an agent wants to deal with. That's why so many busy agents have full-time assistants to assist. But it's helpful to maintain a basic understanding of what you need to know to help your clients successfully close escrow.

When we sent documents to Alaska for a buyer to sign on her behalf and on behalf of her husband stationed overseas, we thought we had covered all of the bases. We made sure the power of attorney was correct. The escrow officer also sent detailed instructions on exactly and precisely how to sign with a power of attorney. In addition, the buyer's mobile notary received specific instructions on how the buyer was supposed to sign.

After the buyer finished signing, she asked the mobile signer to verify that everything was signed correctly. The mobile signer checked the documents, all clear, and then FedXed the docs to escrow. Excited to record, the escrow officer opened the package. We had funds. We could release. Uh-oh, the documents were not signed correctly. We could not record on Friday.

The biggest issue was the seller had packed and moved everything out of her house. She was waiting for the funds to reach her escrow company that afternoon so she could move into her new home. But it didn't happen. Because of the way the buyer had signed with the power of attorney. You won't believe what she did. You can read more in my personal blog today at this link: Signing With a Power of Attorney for Sacramento Real Estate.

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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for About.com, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available with free shipping.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.

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Tags:
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signing with a power of attorney
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signing as an attorney in fact
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Rainmaker
3,482,679
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Elizabeth, I have a closing this week, and the wife will be signing for the husband who is already working out of state.  It is important they sign correctly, or we won't see a closing! 

May 13, 2018 06:37 AM #1
Rainmaker
1,979,293
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Joan Cox Well, at least if she is your buyer, you can be there to make sure she signs correctly. When they are not your buyers, it's the luck of the draw!

May 13, 2018 08:30 AM #2
Ambassador
3,267,425
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Elizabeth- oh my gosh, I'm having memories of my third grade teacher, Mrs. Davis, who taught us to write (cursive) I think she is the reason why my printing is far better than my writing ( no one can read it) She never liked my writing. 

May 13, 2018 05:11 PM #3
Rainmaker
2,133,520
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

You make excellent points about signing with power of attorney.  I once had a client, who was a Vietnam Veteran, who experienced a psychotic break while his home was in escrow.  He was going through a divorce and there was a court order to sell his home.  At the time of the signing, my client was in the psyche ward at Sutter Hospital.  I called his attorney, to say that I did not believe my client was capable of contracting.  The attorney said, "Myrl, there is a court order to sell our client's home.  He wants it sold, his ex-wife wants it sold.  It is not our decision to determine if he is capable of contracting or not. It is the court's. Go get his signature."  So, I visited the hospital, went into the psyche ward, and took his signature.

May 14, 2018 04:35 AM #4
Rainmaker
1,979,293
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Kathy Streib My third-grade teacher was a "miss" Davis. I honestly did not know what all the hoopla was about. Here, we had a perfectly good form of communication and now they wanted to change it all. Why don't they teach you cursive to start with?

May 14, 2018 07:20 AM #5
Rainmaker
1,979,293
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Myrl Jeffcoat Did you bring a mobile notary with you because I know you didn't notarize it, LOL.

May 14, 2018 07:21 AM #6
Ambassador
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

                                                       

      Thank you Elizabeth! 

May 19, 2018 05:51 PM #8
Rainmaker
4,214,842
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Good morning, Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents we use attorneys for everything....the buyer and seller clients of ours have a real estate attorney to complete all legal documents needed.... we don't think about it.

May 20, 2018 04:27 AM #9
Rainmaker
2,600,602
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker

Good morning Elizabeth. You have to follow the rules! Time for an attorney to supervise. Enjoy your day!

May 20, 2018 04:54 AM #10
Rainmaker
2,347,625
Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Elizabeth... I have a great closing attorney who does these documents for my clients, when needed, well in advance so that when they are due, all is good. Knock on wood, to-date no issues with powers of attorney for me, including for clients who have been in places like South Korea, China, Italy when docs needed signing.

May 20, 2018 05:16 AM #11
Ambassador
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Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Wow. you would think the Notary would have witnessed enough of these to be of some value in terms of how to correctly sign the document.  What a shame. 

May 20, 2018 07:14 AM #12
Rainmaker
1,979,293
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Barbara Todaro Attorneys make mistakes, too. But you can't help a buyer who decides to print her husband's signature.

May 20, 2018 09:40 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,979,293
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Wayne Martin An attorney should not have to supervise a signature. That's actually a job for a notary public in California.

May 20, 2018 09:41 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,979,293
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Nina Hollander Real estate agents outta be versed in how to sign with a power of attorney, but they are not. I explained how to sign a half dozen times to the other side and they still got it wrong, even on the RCSD. Finally, my assistant said I should give up because even our corporate department was fairly lax in how they accepted this document.

May 20, 2018 09:43 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,979,293
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD When we got to closing and the wife had to sign the RCSD document, which describes the authority of the attorney-in-fact, she signed it solely with her name for her husband. And she's a professor.

May 20, 2018 09:44 AM #16
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Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.AtHomesCharlotte.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Hi Elizabeth! I go a step further - I have them scan the documents back to me so that I can be sure they were signed properly, as well as having the Closing attorney review simultaneously. If one of us catches a mistake, they are still there with the Notary to re-print said documents (if necessary) and sign the documents properly. I can't believe a Notary didn't know that printing wasn't acceptable! That boggles the mind, doesn't it?! Not even to mention the agent lacking in proactivity!

May 20, 2018 11:06 AM #17
Rainmaker
1,979,293
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Debe Maxwell, CRS All 100 pages? Does the notary run home and come back? Or, does the notary sleep at the house waiting for you and then for the closing attorney to review documents?

Our buyer was in Alaska, and as the listing agent, I am not involved in that side of the transaction. I know you're like me, always looking for ways to fix crazy stuff like this but there is sadly no way when it's not your buyer.

May 20, 2018 11:16 AM #18
Rainmaker
2,347,625
Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Elizabeth... I'd like it if agents were better versed on filling out contractual forms we use all the time!  The problem with "over training" on POA's is that I can see someone arguing we are practicing law if we get overly-involved. In NC we can't even write out a sentence in an addendum.

May 20, 2018 12:46 PM #19
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

One would think the mobile notary would have known what's required for notarization. Since when is a signature printed?

 

May 20, 2018 01:50 PM #20
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