DEAR BOB: I was trying to buy a lot that is listed for sale. The asking price is $59,900. I offered $55,000. The seller did not accept and asked for the full price. I then agreed to $59,900. The real estate agent filled out the forms and told me he had to send them to the seller to sign. After a few days, the agent phoned to tell me the seller wants $65,000 or he won’t sell. Is it legal to ask for more than the listed price? The lot is still listed in the local MLS (multiple listing service) for $59,900 – Tami C.

DEAR TAMI: Unless the seller accepted your written purchase offer at $59,900, you don’t have a binding purchase contract.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

Unfortunately, some unethical realty agents put a listing into the local MLS at a price they know the seller won’t accept. This is done to create a bidding frenzy. But it is not illegal.

Maybe the seller changed his mind before accepting your $59,900 purchase offer. Legally, like any advertisement, the MLS listing is just a request or invitation for offers at the asking price. For full details, please consult a local real estate attorney.

MUST HOME SELLER PAY BUYER’S FHA OR VA LOAN FEES?

DEAR BOB: Thank you for your wonderful articles each week. I’ve learned so much about real estate from you. Now I am in the process of selling a townhouse in El Paso, Texas. The Realtor says I must pay the loan fee points for either a VA or FHA loan for the buyer. Is this the law? – Dorothy C.

DEAR DOROTHY: No. FHA and VA mortgage lenders, like most lenders, usually charge up-front loan fees, often called “points.” Each point equals 1 percent of the amount borrowed.

There is no law requiring the home seller to pay these FHA and VA loan charges. However, if most homes in the El Paso area are sold with FHA and VA mortgages, and if other home sellers pay the loan fees for their buyers, your listing won’t be competitive if you refuse to pay the loan fees.

Presuming you interviewed at least three successful local Realtors who sell homes in El Paso, if they all agree you should pay the buyer’s loan fees, then don’t put yourself at a disadvantage by refusing to do so.

IS HOMEOWNER RESPONSIBLE FOR ROOTS IN NEIGHBOR’S SEWER LINE?

DEAR BOB: There is an easement across the edge of my property for access to a city-maintained sewer line. The sewer lines from my neighbor’s homes run through my lot to attach to the city sewer. Recently, there was a break in one neighbor’s line. In the course of having that line replaced, my neighbor’s plumber installed a clean-out in my yard. Is that included in the easement? Also, am I responsible for damage if the roots from my trees get into the neighbor’s sewer line? – Jessie P.

DEAR JESSIE: Installing that sewer clean-out was a good idea (it might even be required by city ordinance) to prevent future digging on your property to reach the sewer.

However, I am not aware of any legal liability you might have if the roots from your tree clogs your neighbor’s sewer line, which is located on the neighbor’s property. For more details, please consult a local real estate attorney.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “Pros and Cons of Earning Big Profits from Foreclosures and Bargain Distress Properties,” is now available for $4 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet download at www.bobbruss.com. Questions for this column are welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

***

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