Listings: Do you have the right signatures?
On January 8, 2018
By Peg Ritenour, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Legal Services/Administration
When listing a property for sale or lease it is important to make sure you have the signatures of all of the necessary parties. This is crucial to avoid any issues as to the validity of your listing and to protect your right to a commission. But equally important, you want to make sure that you are in compliance with Ohio license law.
Ohio license law requires licensees to obtain the knowledge and consent of the owner or the owner’s authorized agent before marketing or offering property for sale or lease. While the statute doesn’t mandate that such consent be in writing, of course that is the best practice to document that consent has been given.
In the case of multiple owners of a property, the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing interprets the license law to require the consent of all owners of the property. Therefore, when the property is owned by spouses or joint owners such as heirs or multiple investors, the signatures of all of the property owners should be obtained to document that they consent to you listing and offering the property for sale or lease and to also confirm that they are in agreement with the sale price and other terms on which the property will be marketed. In the case of property titled in the name of one spouse only, technically you are only required that you obtain that spouse’s signature. However because under Ohio law the other spouse has dower rights, obtaining that person’s signature on the listing will assure that they are aware of the listing and will serve as an indicator that they will waive their dower rights at the point of sale.
In some cases it is also prudent to take steps to establish that the person listing the property has the authority to do so. Examples of such situations include divorcing spouses, persons with a power of attorney, REO properties, properties in an estate, or properties owned by a legal entity such a an LLC or a corporation. While most listings contain language stating that the person signing the listing has the authority to do so, it is advisable to confirm this to avoid potential issues. Below are steps to take to assure you have the right signatures:
- Divorcing spouses. If one spouse claims the court has authorized him/her to handle the sale of the property, ask for a copy of the court order.
- Power of attorney. If a person purports to have power of attorney to sign for another, a copy of that power of attorney should be obtained for your files.
- Property in an estate. The individual signing the listing should be either the executor or the attorney for the estate.
- LLC. Determine if the person signing the listing is the managing member of the LLC or otherwise authorized in the operating agreement to sign documents for the LLC.
- Corporate owned property. Obtain documentation that the person signing is an officer or duly authorized employee of the corporation.
- Banked owned property. Obtain confirmation that the bank has title to the property. If the deed hasn’t been recorded yet the Division will allow the licensee to list the property if the sheriff’s sale has been confirmed by the court. In this instance, ask for a copy of the court order confirming the sale.
Legal articles provided in the OAR Daily Buzz are intended to provide broad, general information about the law and is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.