Question of the Week • 09-26-12 | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 11:07






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Friday, 21 September 2012 09:36





The Forum Crossword • 09-19-2012 | Print |  E-mail
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Thursday, 20 September 2012 15:49


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Thursday, 20 September 2012 16:06





The Forum Crossword • 08-08-12 | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 11:36

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Horoscope • 08-08-2012 | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 12:36







Top 10 Legal Mistakes Made by Home Sellers — Part 2 | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 15:13

Real Estate Reality

By Carl Medford, CRS
Special to the Forum


Sellers can get so preoccupied with selling their home that they forget to ensure that the transaction stays within the boundaries of the law.


As reported by the California Association of Realtors, there are 10 commonly recurring legal mistakes made by sellers — we covered 1–5 last week, here are the remaining five.


6. Not disclosing known material facts affecting the value or desirability of the property.


We’ve all heard stories of buyers “discovering” issues after they move in — things the seller “knew” but failed to disclose. Nothing says “lawsuit” faster than a failure to disclose pertinent facts.


Hidden damage, neighborhood problems or any deliberate misrepresentation can have very expensive ramifications. The rule of thumb is, “Disclose, Disclose, Disclose,” and, if in doubt, “Disclose.”



7. Not providing the buyer with legally required disclosures.


The California Association of Realtors (CAR), not only provides standardized disclosure forms, they also publish lists of required disclosures. State-mandated Natural Hazard Disclosures are typically provided by third-party vendors such as Disclosure Source.


The seller is ultimately responsible to ensure that the buyer not only receives the required disclosures, but that they are correctly completed.



8. Not obtaining the buyer’s written acknowledgement of disclosures.


Banks are the worst offenders here; but, unfortunately, no one seems to be holding their feet to the fire. For us mortals, we’re required to not only provide disclosures but to ensure the buyer signs and returns them prior to closing.


When a buyer signs the seller’s disclosures, they are not giving assent; they are simply acknowledging that they’ve read and received the disclosures.



9. Not considering whether to require the buyer to remove contingencies.


Buyers are required, by contract, to remove contingencies on time. Failure to do so leaves the seller unprotected. It’s the seller’s responsibility to ensure that contingencies are removed, in writing, in a timely manner.



10. Not excluding items from the sale the seller wants to keep.


This one is simple: Before you sell, walk your property (in and out) and note every attached item you plan on taking. If you can, remove and replace these before going on the market. If not, include your list in the disclosure package to be signed by the buyer — and make sure buyers see it before they write an offer.


Our recommendation? Hire a seasoned, skilled Realtor to assist you in the selling process. They’ll guide you through the minefields and get you out the other end safe, sound… and sold.



Carl Medford is a licensed Realtor with Prudential California Realty in Castro Valley and a licensed general contractor. This article is sponsored by the Central County Marketing Association at

Self-Help Groups | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 15:35

Top-of-the-Hill Toastmasters meets Thursdays 7-8:15 p.m. at Eden Hospital. Improve your public speaking skills in a professional environment. Contact: Roger Mc Cluney at 510-489-4114.

Castro Valley Toastmasters Club meets 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Baywood Court Retirement Community, 21966 Dolores Street.

Take Off Pounds Sensibly meets Thursdays 9:30-11 a.m., Fridays 9-10:30 a.m. at United Methodist Church, 19806 Wisteria St., Castro Valley. Contact (Thurs): Tommie 888-1997; Contact (Fri): Bernice 537-0699.

Overeaters Anonymous meets Mondays 12-12:45 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. at Unity Church, 1420 Santa Maria Ave., Castro Valley. For information, visit

Food Addicts In Recovery Anonymous meets Wednesdays 7-8:30 p.m. at Valley Baptist Church, 19835 Lake Chabot Rd. Contact: Betty 886-4286 or visit

HOW Overeaters Anonymous meets 7-8 p.m. Fridays at Eden Hospital in Castro Valley and 4-5 p.m. Sundays at All Saints Church in Hayward. Info at

The Forum Crossword • 08-01-12 | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 15:00

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Wednesday, 01 August 2012 15:31





Horoscope • 08-01-2012 | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 15:16


by Salomé





Top 10 Legal Mistakes Made by Home Sellers — Part 1 | Print |  E-mail
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 15:21

Real Estate Reality

By Carl Medford, CRS

Special to the Forum




Minefields frequently remain long after wars have ceased; we’ve all been horrified by reports of children inadvertently activating hidden mines.

Similarly, the real estate legal system has plenty of hidden “landmines” ready and waiting to catch homesellers unawares.

The California Association of Realtors (CAR) reports that there are 10 legal mistakes frequently made by those selling their properties — here are the first five:

1. Accepting the buyer with the highest offer without regard to other contractual terms.

A solid contract is not just about price: length of contingencies, close of escrow, “as-is” and many other factors need to be considered. Some sellers are so enamored by the price they fail to read the remainder of the fine print.

Truth is, a lower-priced offer that closes smoothly may be worth more than a higher-priced contract that may not close for a long time, if at all, and/or result in litigation.

2. Not properly handling multiple offer situations.

By law, all offers, written or oral, need to be submitted to the seller as quickly as possible. If requested by the buyer, the seller must provide proof that their offer was actually viewed and rejected.

3. Not properly handling back-up offers.

If an offer is placed in a back-up position, to be legally binding, it needs to be signed by all parties and accompanied by a CAR Purchase Agreement Addendum (Form PAA) which identifies which backup position the offer is in.

If the initial offer fails, then the backup offer in position No. 1 is legally next in line. Sellers cannot choose a different offer, even if the terms are better.

4. Entering into an agreement with no earnest money deposited by the buyer, or a very small amount.

The more “skin” a buyer has in the game, the higher the chances they’ll stick to it in the end. The normal minimum good-faith deposit is 1 percent, while in multiple offer situations it’s frequently increased to 3 percent.

Technically, the contract is not valid until the buyer’s earnest money has been deposited in escrow. Further, this deposit is only at risk after all the buyer’s contingencies have been removed.

5. Entering into an agreement before verifying the buyer’s financial ability to close escrow.

Excited by high offers, some sellers fail to ensure the buyers can actually close. This can tie up the property needlessly, resulting in financial losses and, in extreme cases, litigation.

Next week: Part 2 — Mistakes 6–10

Carl Medford is a licensed Realtor with Prudential California Realty in Castro Valley. This article is sponsored by the Central County Marketing Association at


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