Santa Paula Times

REALTORS® have developed 179 forms for use in the course of their business-and yours

January 26, 2007
REALTOR® Outlook
By Kay Wilson-Bolton REALTORS® have developed 179 forms for use in the course of their business-and yours.There is a form for every eventuality-we think, and if they are not used, the door is opened for controversy and confusion.For example, if the seller intends to retain possession of the house after the close of escrow, there is an additional form that outlines in 12 paragraphs how that detail will be handled from utility transfers, maintenance of the property and insurance.A shocking situation occurred when a homeowner stayed in the home for three days after closing and cancelled their homeowners insurance.The buyers insurance was in place, but they declared that they would be occupying the property. During those three days, the house burned up (or down), and the insurance company denied the claim.The insurance agents I know would never knowingly allow this circumstance but cannot always know the side agreements of any transaction.Using the forms provided is a necessary element in the official Standard of Care in any real estate transaction. To not use them makes it very difficult to answer many questions while under oath during depositions and trial testimony. Each real estate office has its own Standard of Care. Most clients would almost never think to ask, “Are they more forms I should be signing?”
Clients have a right to assume they are being protected and informed in every circumstance. However, the courts view that the public must participate in the process of protecting their interests-even our forms state that, but they are seldom read in their entirety.Informed buyers and sellers should ask about the sufficiency of forms, not only as a reminder to seasoned agents, but as a warning to newer ones.Buyers and sellers should also ask of newer agents who reviews their work and if they have had training in the use of forms.Lawsuits are devastating to all parties. The financial and emotional toll is beyond imagination. The causes are usually lack of communication and lack of information.-all curable in the early stages. Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista and CENTURY 21 Ability. She brings a regional perspective to local issues. She can be reached at 805.340.5025. Her website is