Read Get the Facts including the Legal Hotline Q & A
Get the Facts is a Membership update sent to Washington REALTOR® members and contacts each Tuesday.   Click here if you are having trouble viewing this message.
Get the Facts  Weekly Membership Newsletter
February 28, 2017  -  Stay Connected!

QUESTION: My clients are under contract on a home and in the original listing the washer and dryer were not listed in the Appliances. My clients wanted those items included and the washer and dryer boxes were checked on line 5 of the PSA. It is a larger home and there were two sets of washers and dryers. Listing agent is now saying that sellers may want to take one set of the W/D because their new house doesn’t have any. My clients were expecting both sets to stay with the home. It has always been my understanding that if you check the box, and it was signed around as such, that "Any…located in or on the property are included in the sale” (Paragraph C - Included Items). Can you clarify?

ANSWER: There is not a clear answer to this question and a reviewing court could easily decide the question in favor of buyer or seller. Broker is correct in his quoted language. The Form 21, paragraph C, boilerplate language uses the word "any" in describing the personal property that will remain. However, Form 21, paragraph 5 identifies washer and dryer in the singular. The language does not say "washers" and "dryers". The reference is in the singular, contemplating that only one washer or one dryer will remain.
This purchase agreement language makes sense with respect to the typical home. Most homes do not have more than one washer and dryer. In this situation, however, it creates confusion. If a court is asked to interpret a contract, the court's interpretation will be based on attempting to determine the intent of the parties.
There is no way that the Hotline lawyer can anticipate how a court will rule in this situation. While sometimes the Hotline lawyer can anticipate a likely outcome, there is no way to do that in this case. A court could go either way, based on the facts and argument presented by each party. If the parties cannot resolve this conflict on their own, then broker should advise his client, in writing, to seek legal counsel.
For future reference, this question serves as a good reminder of the importance of identifying the specific personal property referenced in paragraph 5 of Form 21. For example, the make and model of both washers and dryers could have been referenced in an addendum. If that had been done, there would be no question as to how many washers and dryers had to stay. Referencing the serial number of an appliance can avoid confusion later as to whether the seller switched appliances, which sometimes happens with nice refrigerator/freezers.  


The Legal Hotline Lawyer does not represent Washington REALTORS or its members. To browse through our database of past Q & A's, visit Attorney Annie Fitzsimmons writes the Legal Hotline Question and Answer of the Week. Please submit questions to . Please tell us your NRDS number when you e-mail the Hotline with your question.

Thank you, Corporate Sponsors!



Call for Action!
(Source: REALTORMag) REALTORS® are asking for your support of SB 5239 (Warnick/Takko), which would resolve the chaos throughout Washington State concerning the availability of water from single household wells for new homes. Some counties are already adopting development moratorium prohibiting new household wells, while other counties are awaiting by the Legislature on this critical issue. [Read more...]

Uneven Economic Recovery Has Real Estate Implications
(Source: REALTORMag) Stagnant economic conditions for middle-class America continue to put some real estate markets on uneven ground. NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun, who presented his latest economic outlook at the 2017 REALTOR® Broker Summit in San Diego, said lifetime wealth is at an all-time high in the U.S. However, this wealth is highly concentrated in the top 10 percent, while middle-income earners’ wealth has seen relatively no gain over the past 16 years. [Read more...]

Demystifying Local Planning
REALTORS® are crucial to local communities! REALTORS have their finger on the pulse of the housing market and local city planners need your experience. These free short courses are designed to connect communities, including YOU, with planning commissioners, city council members, and other members of your community. It's an important, again free, opportunity with information conveniently packed into a short course offered in several locations. [Learn more...]

Best Car Apps for Real Estate Agents
(Source: Results Series) Aside from Uber drivers and bus drivers, real estate agents may put in more road time than any other profession. And while you’re always focused on getting from one place to the next in record time, you may not be handling your drive time as efficiently as possible. This week on the Results Series blog, we’ll talk about the best mobile apps for real estate agents on the go. [Read more...]

Seven Methods to Help You Stay Focused
(Source: Life Hacker) How many things are vying for your attention right now? Your phone? Email? Slack? Twitter? That nagging to-do list that just seems to keep growing? Modern technology has given us so many amazing things, but one of the awkward side effects has always been its ability to get in our face whether we want it to or not. [Read more...]

Primary Mortgage Rates Survey
(updated every Thursday)


Online, interactive courses!  With several options to satisfy your continuing education needs, GENERATION is a full, interactive product that works on any device with a current web browser.  Spend five minutes per session, or five hours - this product tracks your total time across all your devices! Get more info & PLAY! 

The 2017 Washington REALTOR Business Symposium is proud to announce nationally recognized speaker Jackie Leavenworth will be spending the day with us and sharing her knowledge, energy, and passion for real estate. Jackie will present two of her most demanded classes: Negotiations: The Games People Play and It's a Price War to the Door. Lunch and parking included! [Get more info and register today.]

The 2017 Washington REALTOR Legal Symposium is back and better than ever!  This event has outgrown our original venue so we've relocated to the Marriott Hotel across from the airport.  This event gathers leading real estate attorneys in Washington to share current legal issues affecting the industry & to help our members to stay out of trouble! This year, we have; Annie Fitzsimmons, Justin Haag, Lars Leste, Doug Tingvall, Chris Osborn, Jeannie Simpson, and Mark Schedler. [Get more info and register today.]


Wow, It's HOT!  Current Legal Issues & Hotline Fun!
Friday, March 3, 2017 (8:30 AM to 4:30 PM) 7.5 CE Hours
Useless Bay Golf & Country Club, Langley
Agency Law
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 (8:30 AM to 11:30 AM) 3.5 CE Hours
Lower Columbia Association of REALTORS, Longview
New Forms, Hot Topics, and Other Industry Fun
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 (12:00 PM to 3:30 AM) 3.5 CE Hours
Lower Columbia Association of REALTORS, Longview
Current Issues in Residential WA Real Estate
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 (9:00 AM to 12:00 PM) 3.0 CE Hours
Windermere Real Estate, Puyallup

Real Estate Safety Matters
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 (9:00 AM to 12:00 PM) 3.5 CE Hours
Hood River Elks Club, Hood River, OR
Top Shelf Business Practices
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 (12:30 PM to 3:30 PM) 3.0 CE Hours
Hood River Elks Club, Hood River, OR


QUESTION from 3/17/2016 - What happens in a transaction if the seller dies?  Is there a difference between a seller of an actively listed property dying versus a property that is under contract with a buyer?  Also – what happens if the buyer who is under contract to purchase dies in the middle of a transaction?

ANSWER - A contract that is binding on a person prior to death remains a binding contract after the person's death. The estate of the deceased person is bound to the terms of the contract just as the person was when the person was alive. This is true of listing agreements and purchase agreements, from both the perspective of the buyer and the seller. That said, the practical answer to the question may be very different. Begin the analysis of the "practical answer" with a contract that is easier to fathom. Assume borrower borrows $50,000 to buy a new car. Borrower signs a "contract" with the bank, agreeing to repay the borrowed money on the terms stated in the contract. Borrower dies the next month. The borrower's estate is liable for repayment of the $50,000. The borrower's death did not relieve the borrower's estate of the obligation to repay the $50,000. The same is true, on its face, of the listing agreement and purchase agreement contracts. The practical difference, however, is that the death of a real property owner dramatically alters the record ownership of the property...view the rest of the answer here.
(You will need your NRDS# & password to access the Legal Hotline)
The Legal Hotline Lawyer does not represent Washington REALTORS or its members. To browse through our database of past Q & A's, visit Attorney Annie Fitzsimmons writes the Legal Hotline Question and Answer of the Week. Please submit questions to Please tell us your NRDS number when e-mail the Hotline with your question.