By Barry Lebow

When I tell people that I specialize in litigation relating to real estate agency and to real estate stigma, even Realtors ask me to explain what I mean by stigma.

Stigma is the effect that lingers after the cure. In real estate it can be something as simple as, “How clean is clean?” This refers to a property that, say, had an oil spill. The buyer may have full access to the reports from the environmental experts, but due to a migrating underground water supply, for example, they may feel that the oil may move back or that a neighbouring property that was contaminated could have their contamination issues migrate.

For grow operations (marijuana grow houses) the problem of stigma is predominately related to mould. Houses can be cleaned and problems fixed but mould can result even a year later. The same goes for a house that had a water problem.

Stigma can be real or perceived. Sometimes public opinion or word-of-mouth can result in the highest loss in value. Once the community knows of a problem, from a murder in the house to a grow-op, the word is out. In most provinces and states, Realtors must disclose but some of the laws are vague and the buyer is not always protected. Good advice? Recommend a qualified home inspector, one who is reputable. Check references and qualifications carefully and make sure they carry insurance coverage.

Buyers should be protected by a buyer agency representation and be a client, not just a customer. A buyer should know that a designated buyer rep works for them and their interests.

For Realtors, there are two ways to protect yourself from future litigation should a stigma problem be found later. First, absolutely always type in the address of a house that you are listing or selling on Google, Yahoo and other search engines. If it is notorious, you may be surprised what you can find on a search. Next, always go into your local board’s MLS system as far back as possible to search a subject property.

That last bit of advice should have been done by a Realtor recently. She listed a property and then the buyers found out just before closing that the house had once been insulated with UFFI. The buyers wanted a discount to close and the listing agent insisted she did not know. A simple MLS search would have found a previous listing on the same property where it was clearly stated that UFFI had been removed. She should have known. She should have done her research. Her lack of doing so, of relying on the seller’s representation, means she is now heading into the court system.

Stigma can be measured in many ways, but the most difficult is by direct comparison. For example, say that you bought a house and found out from a neighbour that it had been the scene of a horrific murder. Your buyers are angry. They want to sue the seller and the listing and selling agents.

In most jurisdictions, you were denied the right to a material fact. In some places like California, disclosure of a murder must be reported for three years. In Canada, only Quebec has a murder disclosure law. How does one measure the loss, if any? In a textbook situation, we would find various murder sites, compare their selling prices to similar and non-impacted houses in their area and then with enough data estimate a percentage loss to your house. The problem? Most murder sites are not readily disclosed and not all murders may have received excess media attention, which does negatively impact value.

The other problem is one of time. Did the murder happen last year or 10 years ago? Heck, in a small town, a 50-year-old murder still is well remembered. In most provinces, I have not found limitations on disclosure. In Ontario for example, once you had UFFI you are compelled to disclose that fact even though it may have been removed in 1981. Something is very wrong with that scenario. Unlimited disclosure harms the selling public who can be innocent of full knowledge of the history of their home and leads to more lawsuits involving Realtors. It is just wrong to not specify how long a former problem has to be disclosed. That one factor alone assists in stigmatizing real property.

For a former grow operation we do find comparable sales. We track known grow ops and compare them to similar houses (without the grow op problem) and estimate a percentage loss. This works when the data is available, like it is in my home town of Toronto.

Many stigma problems cannot be measured from the marketplace, such as a loss of parking that negates a value, a mould issue or a bad construction job. Comparable data is not available so I have learned to use empirical modelling and formulas that make common sense.

Here is a true test for a real loss in value: Can you get a mortgage with the problem known to the lender? If the advance is reduced, if the rate is higher or they say no, you have stigma. Next major test: Can you get insurance? If no or highly rated you have a stigma problem.

Do you believe in ghosts?  To find out if ghosts are real, go to your favourite search engine and type in “Ghosts Nyack” or use this link:  http://atlasobscura.com/place/the-ghost-of-nyack. Are ghosts real? That is a definite “yes” according to the Supreme Court of the State of New York. It’s a very interesting case and a good read for Realtors.

Barry Lebow is a long-time columnist for REM. He started as a Realtor in 1968 and is an appraiser, arbitrator and educator. Today he specializes in being an expert witness in stigma and agency matters but is most active as founder & CEO of the Accredited Senior Agent professional designation program for Realtors, which now has 800 members and continues to grow. Barry is considered one of Canada’s most dynamic real estate facilitators. Phone 416-784-9806 or email at [email protected].

24 COMMENTS

  1. The existence of stigma is highly debatable in Canadian law. There are very, very few reported decisions out there that discuss stigma in any length. In the ones that do, the results are mixed. For example, the Ontario Court of Appeal (one of the highest courts in the country) has held that a contaminated site cleaned to a "pristine" level (i.e., pursuant to legal requirements) shouldn't have a deduction for stigma.

    Furthermore, even Barry Lebow, the so-called expert in stigma, has had a hard time getting Canadian courts to buy his evidence. I searched his name for reported decisions and in one case, McClean v. Manorgate Estates Inc., 2010 ONSC 949 the court rejected his evidence. (interestingly, the judge said this case, which only happened about a year ago, was the first time Barry ever presented evidence using a model he devised to calculate stigma. Hmmm)

    Given this uncertainty, whilie Barry's article is interesting I guess, I wouldn't be so quick to follow his legal advice to disclose. Stick to what RECO or whatever regulatory body you're part of is telling you to do. Contact an actual lawyer if you're really bugged by it. After all, disclosing stuff you don't need to disclose could put you in an even worse situation and piss off your vendor.

    • Okay, Steve. Can you speak to what constitutes an "illegal" instruction, perhaps? One of the examples I had, for instance, was that he (the lawyer) forbid me to disclose a suicide had taken place at my listing. As best as I could figure out, I told him I could not honour his dictate because I was not permitted to accept illegal instructions, and I put it in writing to him. I told him that my contract was with the seller, not with him. If he chose to have the seller disengage my services, I would deal with that issue accordingly. He backed off.

      I told him that under the rules as I understood them at the time, I must disclose. Carefully, of course – one is not going to "advertise" the fact, but as a listing agent, I felt the obligation was clear in my fiduciary duty (to my seller so he wouldn't get sued after the fact or perhaps have the transaction not close) to put on the listing: contact listing agent before showing property – before offer prep… at which time I disclosed – in writing to the agent with the offer and had him sign the document.

      I did not insist that the information be in the actual offer. I know of a recent situation where a colleague had the same sort of issue and put the full disclosure right in the offer. (Now the mortgage company knows, and the appraiser if he sees the offer knows, and the clerks in the law office know – so I am not sure how I feel about "that' process being employed.)

      Now whether or not in my case, whether he (the co-op agent) shared with his buyer, I do not know. He said he did, because that was part of the (my office) liability disclosure I had him sign, saying he had done so.

      I don't think it was part of my duty to follow up what he did or did not do with his buyer. I am not his babysitter. But I felt I had done "my job" for my seller. Did the fact that a suicide happened there impact the sale price? Apparently not, according to the comps I could gather. If so, only by a miniscule amount. The buyer either didn't know or didn't care. But I felt that I had done my job, for which I was well paid.

      Next question posed: should that disclosure "follow" a further sale, should that buyer ever re-sell that property? Perhaps Barry can chime in here, further, on this topic?

      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Sorry to put it so bluntly but what's with all this Lebow "stigma" crap. He makes it sound that selling a house can be a perilous experience. IT IS NOT!!! Most of the cautions he talks about are an over stretch of reality. Out of the hundreds of homes that I sold over the years, I sold one that a murder was committed some many years prior to my selling it and only sold it due to the non disclosure of this fact by the listing agent. On another occassion some months after I sold a house, some of the plaster fell off the master bedroom ceilling. When listing a house ascertain that all that you represent on the listing are correct. Any problems that you and the seller know about spell them out. Any problem you and the seller are uncertain or unaware about clearly spell it out on the listing. Remember, additionally, the buyer has the option to have a home inspection done prior to closing and it's their lawyer's responsibility to ascertain that all legal matters are in place after performing a title search. We are real estate agents and not detectives, home builders, home inspectors or lawyers or whatever else Mr. Lebow thinks we are. .

  2. To: Brian Martindale:

    Couldn't DISAGREE with you more about your stance on the use of the SPIS forms Brian. This issue aside, Nnce to see your posting on the Forum however. It's been a long time since your last one. I even asked Carolyne about you in one of my postings.

    • Hi John: I would positively hate it if thoughtful, experienced folks like yourself agreed with my opinions all of the time; it would cause me to question my own ability, or lack thereof, to think critically about an issue from my own experiential background. I seem to have been personally exposed to too many scoundrels over the decades for my liking. Thus my healthy skepticism regarding the unique ability of we humans to think first about what we say and / or physically put to paper in order to promote our own interests over those of our competitors and / or our transaction partners remains intact. Of course there are those who are naturally honest as a way of life, but then, they do not need to fill out an SPIS. They proffer negatives about their properties up-front, thus establishing their credibility about everything positive that they put forth thereafter. Not only are these types honest, they are smart. They don't often get sued as the result.

      Thanks for asking about me…much appreciated.

      Brian

    • Brian, I've never experienced the negative things you have therefor I find it somewhat difficult to understand such experiences. Mostly all of the people I've done business with over the years I found to be strainght forward and honest with me. I find it difficult to believe your claim that there are people out there who would be willing to purposely sign a dishonest SPIS form in order to put a deal together that's in their favour. In my opinion, anyone who risks doing such serious wrong is most unscrupulous and should have their head examined, as there are serious consequenses attached to such behaviour. Finally, I don't understand why there are people coming on this forum and cautioning about the use of the SPIS form. using unfounded and unwarranted scare tactics to justify their position. As long as the content of an SPIS form is truthfully stated, there is nothing to fear and I strongly urge its use. Selling real estate is a very easy , simple business, unfortunately many make it to be unjustifiably otherwise. Nice to hear from you Brian. Enjoy this special long Canada Day holiday weekend. P.S. Look forward to meeting you one day down the road. And by the way, I am not as old as some people on this Forum think I am. It's just that I started working in the real estate field at a very young age.

  3. Great topic and great comments.

    Carolyne, you know those REALTORS and their Brokerage are headed for big lawsuits in the coming years, so hopefully things will get cleared up sooner than later. Any REALTOR or Brokerage who does not see outsiders licking their lips as commissions have increased have their head in the sand. The Big Brands have class action suits to worry about.

    Due Diligence is a relatively new or unrecognized aspect of selling real estate today by most (not all Carolyne) REALTORS. Increasingly Buyer's Agents will be expected to offer a complete Buyer experience that will preclude any belief in SPIS.
    In the very near future offers will include a requirement for structural, mechanical, environmental, subjective (ie ghosts) and legal (lot size, subdivision rules) reviews by certified professionals. The cost to complete these reviews will be higher than today and far more encompassing.
    Since often we are dealing in property values now over 1/2 Million Dollars, like any investment it should be handled by a professional who can complete the due diligence needed to justify a 2.5% SB commission. Of course this will lead to our industry becoming even more respected.

    Obviously clients of Carolyne will have nothing to fear but those others……

    • Thank you for the vote of confidence, Ross. I try hard but there will always be danger zones and people who love to play brain games. I have all the patience in the world but my tolerance level for nonsense is minus zero, sorry to say.

      On down days (and we all have them occasionally) I read some of the letters I have received from clients, and these are from ones who make my life worthwhile, being in the business now for 30 years, this year.
      Carolyne's Clients Speak: http://www.carolyne.com/awards.html#speaks

      I don't post them to flaunt my success, but rather to substantiate the facts as they were seen by members of the public; there are many wonderful Realtors out there who get the same kinds of letters. I didn't write the letters, and to me they are worth more than money. I charge more than most agents and have buyer clients top up whatever is missing in the co-op's offered, and although we are not meant to discuss commissions for fear of collusion being threatened, I am proud to say that clients pay me extra. And I am worth every penny of what I charge.

      To date, I have not had one ever refuse to do so. But they know right up front at the beginning how "my system" works. If they would not agree – it would be thanks, but bye-bye. This truly is a business where you get what you pay for – and it's totally up to the client to choose, in all regards.

      I have been asked by agents if they can "shadow me" to see how I work. I have been offered outrageous compensation to do so. I have declined. I've been told my "methods" mean I work in an "unconventional manner," (whatever that means – my old brokers coined the term many years ago – when they would say, just leave her alone – she works in an unconventional manner – lol). I only know I have never "sold" anything to anyone in my life. It is all about setting up rapport. I have clients who stayed with me for three years as I worked diligently in the background until just the right scenario presented itself. Everyone wins.

      I have often thought I wish I knew how to put together a course to show agents how they can earn well above what has become referred to as lesser commissions. It's not about the money; it's about you get what you pay for. My people (that's what I call my clients) always have choices. The choices are theirs to make. They elect to pay top dollar and they get top-hat results. Works every time. Without exception.

      I haven't had 30 expired listings in 30 years. I worked alone (never a team) and I carried 17-23 listings most times, in rotation. It's all about taking "time" to explain whatever is relevant to the client. None of this "rushing about" to see how much less time an agent can spend with a client. But computers, as wonderful as they are, make more work, not less. Could not do that volume alone today.

      Due to a family situation, I have not been as active in recent times as historically, but I still treat my clients like the gold that they are. And there is a multitude of consumer education material I wrote, that is on my sites for which I continue to get requests for reprint rights. Sadly members of the public often read the material after they have had a problem someplace else. Then they call me to ask how to fix their problem. I get those calls nearly every week, and some "demand" that I help them. I am not a lawyer. The yellow pages have many listed. Choose one.

      Cordially,
      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

  4. Carolyne, as long as judges and lawyers disagree on the use and or benefits of the SPIS, it will remain a litigious issue hence I always direct sellers to their lawyers.

    As far as I'm concerned having to answer every one of the forms questions just to disclose one issue does invite problems where none sometimes ought to be. The seller may be completely truthful in disclosing the known issue say flooding, but completely wrong about wiring.

    The powers that be gave us listings and schedules and they are as good a place as any to disclose material defects to potential buyers.

    • PED, I agree completely, but, sadly, lawyers – by nature of how they work – are not out in the field with us. They are "textbook-smart" but have no "on-the-road" experience. If they followed us around for a few months, lawyers might take a whole different view of our industry.

      Cordially,
      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

  5. Thank you, Barry. All we can do is try. And it gets old. Tiresome. Time-consuming, and sometimes in the end – there is "no end." And often any amount of due diligence is still not enough.

    Read my response to PED's post..

    Cordially,
    Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

  6. Stick to your guns Carolyne.

    I read as many real estate cases as possible both from the courts and RECO. In one court case the judge ruled against the sellers for not disclosing previous water damage and stated they had a moral duty to do so. As you probably know RECO won't excuse REALTORS from the obligation to disclose regardless of what the seller or their lawyer directs.

    Recently I advised a seller/friend that in order for me to take the listing I would disclose previous basement leakage, flood damage and mould (lots of it), the seller was aghast citing it was 'fixed' albeit by a handyman. After referring them to their lawyer for advice they came back and said the lawyer told them not to disclose. After the property sold I asked if it was disclosed and the answer was a flat no.

    A REALTOR is better off to walk away from the commission than gamble with the exponentially more costly loss should they be sued or reported.

    • Thanks for your support regarding this topic, PED. I am of mixed-minds about the SPIS form and the back and forth discussions raised on that topic, here on REM and at other places. But I always told sellers that the concept of disclosing is to "prevent" problems, not cause them. But the forms leave plenty of room for vagueness, and since the responsibility is on the Realtor "to be sure the seller is telling the truth" – I find myself confused as to its use.

      I don't believe in buyer-beware but there is plenty of it practiced in our industry.

      A few years back when I bought a personal property, the listing agent lied profusely when asked questions and advised his seller not to answer others of my questions. My thoughts (and he is a 'brand-name' high producer) is that if he would do that to a colleague what would he do to members of the public? When I drew the issue to the broker's attention, his response was: "Well, he managed to sell the property for his seller, and for top dollar, didn't he?" Speaks volumes.

      I was very dis-heartened by the experience. Then to add insult to injury it happened again. This time the woman listing agent had made many errors on the listing and I had asked to have the information corrected, not the least of which so it would serve as backup information for future use, perhaps by appraisers, etc. (wrong lot size for starters).

      Her broker stood by her errors that remained uncorrected and attacked me personally for "asking too many questions." Honest mistakes (and we all make them) can be corrected, adjusted, apologized for, amended – and mistakes do happen. It's the after effects that represent the real problem. These two agents in particular – I would never trust again. Not ever. Their brokers? WOW! What can one say? What does that say about our industry? It nearly destroyed my faith entirely.

      Best regards,
      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Hi Carolyne: Regarding your statements…"I am of mixed minds about the SPIS form"…'the forms leave plenty of room for vagueness."…"I find myself confused as to its use."

      I have always been an advocate for the outright dismissal of the SPIS due to its inherent gravitational pull in favour of the temporary / permanent dishonest leanings of sellers when it comes down to dollars to be gained via obfuscating negative material facts about their properties. In other words, 'these types' of people are actually encouraged to lie (or simply shrug their shoulders, figuratively) by the current SPIS with its many loopholes and psychological / philosophical escape hatches as 'they' regard them within 'their' individually, creatively filtered "who cares about the buyer / Realtor" so-called 'shrewd' business-like mind-sets. That's a run-on sentence that simply means that crooks (yes, some sellers are crooks, as well as others who by nature aren't crooks, but who may via the vagueness of the SPIS be swayed temporaily to step out of line) will be tempted to use any means possible to fulfill the desire to gain financially, all the while discounting the effect of the negative costs to be borne by those buyers who are helping 'them' to get on with 'their' lives.

      The SPIS forms the perfect basis for the application of the 'zero-sum' theory of so-called 'shrewd' business activity

      Incidentally, our local board, The Peterborough and Kawarthas Association of Realtors (PKAR), according to an announcement received via email from my brokerage, states that the SPIS is no longer a mandatory inclusion within listing documents.

      Somebody / some folks around here with common-sense in a local position of influence seem(s) to be all-too-aware of the problems (not just potential problems) created by the too-often misused document (which isn't worth the paper it's written on according to many / all? lawyers) in question.

      Way to go PKAR.

      Brian

  7. Barry Lebow's article = In most part. Long winded nonsense. When listing a property for sale it's important that all known facts about the subject property be fuilly disclosed in an honest, responsible manner and a disclosure form be signed. That's all. Unfortunately, lawyers are good with words and have a way of manipulating the system. As such they can target anyone and everyone if they so desire, no matter how well a listing is drafted. Sadly, there is little to no protection shouyld that turn out to be the case.

    • Clarification: The part of your posting that I mostly consider to be "Long winded nonsense", is the research work recommended by you. Based on your resume credentials Barry, undoubtedly you feel that you are a master of all trades. So, who am I to disagree with someone like you. In closing all I have to say is: AMEN

  8. I have had listings for property where there has been a natural death, a suicide, a murder, uffi in, uffi out, checks and balances done and reported, all appropriately. I had a doctor buy a million-dollar home back in the 80's where the uffi had been acknowledged as disclosed by the seller, checked and monitored for weeks. He closed. Had no problem living there. But when he went to sell it, feeling he had to share his business because so many of this patients were Realtors, he listed with someone else – who DID not disclose.

    I have listed properties that are estate sales, managed by trust companies, as a result of death-related issues. I have always disclosed what I know and/or what I can find out. But I have run into stonewalling from lawyers for the listing side who tell me I am forbidden to disclose; that the disclosure is working against the seller client. Wonder if any other agents have had this experience.

    Where it is my understanding that I must disclose, I have to tell the lawyer that I am not permitted to take illegal instruction, from him or anyone else related to the particular situation.

    Speaking of uffi: there is a whole subdivision (actually several) where the government offered bonuses to homeowners to install uffi, then several years later, offered bonuses to have it removed. I have never seen this disclosed on listings in those locations, subsequent, during the following twenty-five years.

    As an agent for a buyer it is my duty to tell the buyer about these things. But it can make for a nasty relationship in the industry. Many agents simply don't know the "history" and don't make it their business to find out and get furious when it is pointed out to them.

    Some things just stick in one's brain forever. If we don't disclose and the neighbours do, after the fact, guess who becomes responsible.

    Disclose, and get the disclosure acknowledged – in writing. There will always be a buyer who is not impeded by the information; although the sale price may reflect the issue.

    Cordially,
    Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Carolyne – you are absolutely correct. The problem today is litigation and hungry lawyers. A Realtor today must undertake more diligence than in the past. Like I said, use Google, search all previous listings but then there is the tough one, quietly speaking to the neighbours. That can be done while listed during due course of just promoting the property. Things been covered up? The neighbours will talk. The problem is that in Canada our rules are not set out as too many provincial regs for agents are vague. In Ontario REBBA 2002 has many items that beg for more clarification about what a registrant should undertake. This last ruling in Sudbury against the Realtor imposes new rules and new cautions. Selling real estate today is no longer an easy business from the abundant paperwork to the diligence needed to be Teflon coated against lawsuits.

    • Barry,
      This link begs the question: if a property is known to have had an owner who is HIV/Aids positive and perhaps has passed on as a result – should that information be disclosed?

      Not throwing stones – just asking… did this lawyer do the right thing? And where do privacy laws begin and end? We could bring the SARS situation into discussion I suppose when it created quite a scare in Toronto a few years ago. Hospitals, as well, had to disclose the C-difficile situation; does it add to the mix also?

      Recall the Legionaires disease discussions and did they ever figure out if it really was in the air conditioning systems as some thought?

      This is a medical case discussion – but it prompted me to ask about disclosure: (a would-be client passed this link to me). http://www.lawtimesnews.com/201208069242/Headline

      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Carolyne/Barry, I have a current issue regarding a property that my Buyer likes and we discovered through the SPS that there was a suicide in the unfinished basement in 2009. My clients initially backed out, but still love the house, and are wondering how long this stigma attaches to the property and if they live there and finish the basement and decide to sell in a few years, do they still need to disclose? I said yes they do, but how long is reasonable for this type of stigma to attach to a home? There are no clear answers in myt Workbook from the Stigma & Property course I took a few years ago, it deals only with how not to get sued as a Realtor. I am trying to advise my clients on this, how low is reasonable to offer, will the lower market value follow them forever? Any insight would be appreciated! Thanks Diane B.

      • I have no idea how this new forum procedure works. Just trying to follow the prompts. WELL – "THAT" didn't work… when I hit submit a message appeared telling my response was too long – to resubmit in multiple parts perhaps. So here goes! Part 1 of … I can't tell from the screen where the "middle" is to break it so I am guessing… I've tried this 4 times!!! Now it tells me my URL is most likely incorrect (NOT!)

        So, Diane, thanks for your post. Will be interested also to see if Barry responds. My opinion: the suicide situation will follow the property forever. If there were newscasts relating to it, forever and a day. It makes for such a difficult decision, doesn't it? as you expressed.

        Is this a legal question? of course lawyers cannot express opinions regarding market value, typically. But I, for one, don't think this is just and only a market value question. There are people who would never buy this property at any price. So first those sorts of buyers get eliminated from the mix immediately and any way you slice it. (Look for NEXT …… )

        Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

      • (Now it says my email address is invalid… Cont'd) Is this a legal question? of course lawyers cannot express opinions regarding market value, typically. But I, for one, don't think this is just and only a market value question. There are people who would never buy this property at any price. So first those sorts of buyers get eliminated from the mix immediately and any way you slice it.

        The buyer who would buy the property, resell it and another buyer enter the scene, is always going to encounter, if nothing else – discussion of the topic. If not disclosed, as we stated earlier, the neighbours will. So best to always be up front. There will always be a buyer to whom the subject property's history doesn't matter. THAT's the buyer any seller, now or in the future will need to market to.
        See next ….

      • Cont'd — How much is too much, or too little, for the price point? That can ONLY be determined by a buyer, not a REALTOR(r). Back to definition of fair market value: A house is only and forever worth – what a buyer (any buyer) is prepared to pay – provided the seller is willing to accept the price – and the property has been adequately exposed to the marketplace (and we could add and has no untoward situations associated with it), when neither the buyer nor the seller is under distress.

        In other words, in my opinion, that property can never be used as a comparable, but rather must be eliminated from any "arithmetical" calculations. So, perhaps, to calculate replacement cost new, and pull what would only be a hypothetical value out of the air as a stigma adjustment, might be one way to approach the topic of arriving at a price everyone is comfortable with. The buyers need to be comfortable knowing they can sleep undisturbed at night, with their decision. They must reach their own conclusions. You can only be a guide. You must not be part of a conversation that says you guided or steered them in any way (in my opinion).
        Next ….

      • Cont'd Oh that there were a guideline: but there isn't. It, in the end, only boils down to how much a buyer is prepared to pay, and the seller must never feel that he is functioning under distress, or stress, co-opted by the agency involved.

        For sure (in all cases of course) in particular in these cases, all must be totally transparent, so that no accusations fly foot loose and fancy free after the fact, exposing the agent(s) to criticisms – some warranted and some not.

        Sadly, there is no answer to your question, Diane. Just more fodder for a thought-provoking discussion. Thanks.

        Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

        WOW! guess not going to do this again in a big hurry ;)

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