Recently, I have come across several agreements and orders for a “Court Appointed Realtor” or an “Agreed to Realtor”. I previously have discussed the problems with the Real Estate Special Commissioner system, and suspect this a misguided way of avoiding those issues and labels. Though good in theory, such agreements actually can lead to confusion and more problems.
A quick review of the terms:
Real Estate Special Commissioner (RESC): Under Rule 95G, the RESC receives an Order of Appointment giving directives on how the real estate transaction is to be handled. If the parties are not in agreement with any aspect of the marketing and sale of the real estate, the RESC makes recommendations to the Judge for a decision.
Court Appointed Realtor (CAR) and Agreed to Realtor (AR): There is no Rule governing the “Court Appointed Realtor” or “Agreed to Realtor”. It appears these terms have been developed to accommodate the RESC system, which is rife with problems. However, beyond the agreement to use this Realtor, the Realtor has no Order of Appointment, and thusly lacks direction and authority. Disagreements between the parties cannot be quickly resolved, and sales can be easily lost.
Special Master: Under Rule 72, the Special Master, usually an attorney, has many duties and powers. Most notably, the Special Master has the power to make decisions that are binding on the parties in the same manner as a judge’s orders. The one benefit of a Special Master over a judge is timing. The Special Master is usually easier to reach, and can address time-sensitive issues more quickly
The perfect marriage (no pun intended) is using someone like myself, a seasoned and experienced Realtor, along with Special Master. This is a plausible solution for the following reasons:
1) As a Realtor assisting divorcing clients in the sale of the marital property, I regularly handle issues throughout the course of the transaction, such as:
Establishing listing price and terms
Suggesting price reductions
Recommending and coordinating repairs and maintenance
Handling purchase offers from beginning to end
2) It is not practical to take every disagreement to the Judge or Special Master. Not only are their calendars full, but I guarantee you that most disputes erupt on holidays, late nights, and weekends. When a contract is on the line, we risk loosing a buyer if disputes between the parties cannot be expeditiously resolved. It may take days to get a hearing scheduled with the Judge. Usually the time is much shorter with a Special Master.
3) A Special Master can pay more attention to the issues. Some issues that arise in the real estate transactions, are not real estate related, and need the attention of the attorneys. If the attorneys have withdrawn, or if they defer to the Special Master, the Special Master is there to control the situation. I have experience with Special Masters and conflicting parties to narrow or reduce issues, and can expedite the process and minimize costs.
4) I am well versed in all areas of real estate transactions, and family law conflicts, and do not operate like so many rouge Realtors. I recently had a Realtor tell me “Court appointments are easy…they have to do what we tell them, or we get 7% commission”. I reminded her that only the Judge or Special Master can deal with sanctions, and that our primary duty is to help the parties through a difficult time. We are not here to merely “list, lock and leave,” but to guide, help and counsel.
While there is no perfect answer or approach, well-trained and experienced professionals can minimize problems by acting before they occur, and quickly and efficiently deal with them if they happen. For more information on this topic, or to speak with me about services I offer, please feel free to contact me any time.