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Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Agent Resource Center
This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

How to Hold Title

Written by Posted On Thursday, 10 January 2019 05:25

The transaction is almost complete. The broker has found a ready, willing, and able buyer at the listing terms. All the provisions of the standard PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT are determined, and all special protective conditions have been inserted. Just one more blank to fill in TITLE SHALL VEST AS FOLLOWS. Suddenly there is an issue.

The buyer says "I don't know much about taking title or ownership of real property, but I do know that I want my wife Susan to get this house when I die." The broker recommends that the husband and wife take the title as joint tenants since this will achieve the desired result of the surviving spouse obtaining title to the entire property immediately upon the other's death (and also avoid probate). With no further discussion of the consequences of this act, the buyer directs the broker to fill in the blank with the words "Joint Tenancy."

The Major Problems

There are two major problems in the above situation. First, a broker who recommends how a buyer should hold title to property may be guilty of the unauthorized practice of law. The broker does have a responsibility to advise the buyer of the principal features of the various forms of ownership. Beyond that, however, the broker can only recommend that the buyer consult an experienced tax advisor, such as an attorney or accountant. Second, in many cases, holding title jointly can create serious tax disadvantages which could be avoided with proper tax counseling and estate planning directs the broker to fill in the blank with the words "Joint Tenancy."

There are two major problems in the above situation. First, a broker who recommends how a buyer should hold title to property may be guilty of the unauthorized practice of law. The broker does have a responsibility to advise the buyer of the principal features of the various forms of ownership. Beyond that, however, the broker can only recommend that the buyer consult an experienced tax advisor, such as an attorney or accountant. Second, in many cases, holding title jointly can create serious tax disadvantages which could be avoided with proper tax counseling and estate planning.

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Saul Klein

In 1948, doctors told my father that his life aboard submarines on war patrol in the South Pacific and the depth charging he experienced had rendered him sterile. Although controversial and not widely applied, he was treated with an Ayurvedic therapy called “shivambu.” If you are unfamiliar with this term, I recommend you Google it because against all odds, I came to exist.

That was a loony segue into my life but is a fitting precursor to a career that would be just as incredible.

Like my father, I joined the Navy. However, due to a medical inconvenience, I was honorably discharged after 6 years of commissioned service, all on Sea Duty. This was an opportune misfortune that led me down the path to a successful career in real estate. Both my father and grandfather flirted in real estate brokering and flipping part-time, and I followed suit but making a lifelong career out of it.

With over 40 years in real estate, it is impossible to talk about my experiences in this small window. But I can proudly say that I am well-recognized as an industry pioneer, especially in real estate syndication and education, and one of the few luminaries that paved the way for real estate’s transition to the online world.

Some highlights of my life’s work:
● Co-created ePRO, technology certification course that certified 70,000 students
● Created the first online communities for real estate professionals to network, learn, and sell
● Created "Opt Out" Listing Syndication, aggregating over 1.4 Million Listings in 18 months
● Built the #2 National Listing Syndication Service, Point2 Technologies, sold to Yardi in 2010
● Founder of the California Association of Buyer’s Agents
● Member of the first REALTOR.com Team, pre-IPO, responsible for obtaining first 500,000 listings
● Helped Zillow and Trulia build up their MLS data inventory

Today I continue to lead efforts that bring new technologies to the real estate industry. Feel free to reach out and learn more.

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