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A Divorcing Client May Require More Due Diligence

By May 21, 2015No Comments

legal homeownersA divorce can send folks scrambling. In a perfect world, when people split they would be able to talk through what to do with their assets, but in a nasty divorce especially, where emotions are high and everyone is trying to come out a winner, this is not always possible.

Through marriage, people work together, sometimes over their entire lives, to accumulate assets which include real estate. This is why it is not uncommon that some may do whatever it takes to try to get what is theirs out of the divorce.

A very common occurrence with divorcing spouses is that one may want to sell a property that has the other spouse’s name on it with the hope that if an offer comes in they will be able to convince the ex-spouse to sell – some may even deploy other tactics to provide you with a signed offer.

Avoiding this is simple.

  • When you are considering taking on a new listing, prior to visiting the property, perform a search to confirm who the legal homeowners are.
  • At this point you can contact your client to confirm that all legal homeowners will be at the engagement meeting with identification.

This is the only real way to verify that you are dealing with all legal homeowners – meet them, see them, see their ID. It is a red flag if you uncover that there is another person on title and your client says that they won’t be available to meet in person, but that they can send a copy of their ID and any documents can be faxed to them to sign. As a rule of thumb, if you can’t meet and see ID for all legal homeowners, you may want to pass on the listing.

From time-to-time you may encounter someone that says that their spouse lives out of province or country – in this instance another option is to send the other party to a lawyer in their country to certify their identification and identity.

In the most innocent scenario, taking the extra step to verify who owns a property will mean that you can flag an issue and work through it, or, in the ugliest scenario, prevent blatant mortgage fraud.

Protect yourself and your clients. Use GeoWarehouse to easily find out who is on title. Contact us today at 1-866-237-5937.