3-Fold Spike in Questions On
Legal Forms So Far in 2016

First, a caveat:  when your broker is Edina Realty, you don’t NEED to call the Minnesota Association of Realtors’ Legal Hotline (frankly, I didn’t even know it existed until last week).

That’s because Edina Realty has three, terrific(!) in-house counsel** available to field agents’ questions and keep them out of trouble — thereby avoiding the need to help agents get out of trouble, after-the-fact.

Audience:  Small(er) Brokers With No In-House Legal

Excluding Edina Realty agents, then, guess the likely explanation(s) for a 3-fold spike in questions to the Legal Hotline so far this year regarding the legal forms included in a typical residential sale (Purchase Agreement, Financing Addendum, Inspection Contingency, etc.):

A.  A 2015 change to the forms (re: Seller home warranties) is tripping up agents.
B. The 2016 Twin Cities housing market has been especially busy; more deals = more issues/questions.
C. More newcomers are entering the business, who are learning on the job (“heads up” to their clients!).
D. All of the above.

Answer:  “D.”

**Any lawyer can speak legalese.  Mark Christopherson, CJ Deike and Ed Kaiser are experts in legalese, but speak English (much harder to do).

See also, “What If There Were No Hypothetical Questions?”  (No, Really); and “Practicing an Ounce of (Legal) Prevention.


Rise of the Have-Not’s — and their Avatar(s)

by Ross Kaplan on June 25, 2016

Brexit’s Aftermath:  Referendum Contagion?

It’s bigger than Trump.

That’s the instant, inescapable and more than a little harrowing takeaway from Britain’s vote Thursday to leave the European Union (“Brexit”).

What’s less clear:  1) how far will the pendulum swing towards protectionism?; 2) who will be the leaders of this nascent movement?; and 3) whose agenda(s) are they really pushing — theirs, or their followers’?**

Disaster — or Opportunity?

While Brexit is certainly a rebuke of free trade, open markets, and the “Haves” (elites?) who most benefit from same, it’s hardly self-evident to me that the inevitable consequence is economic ruin and renewed European political strife.

I can see the potential for positives, too.

Like fairer, more economically inclusive societies, which in turn lay the foundation, long-term, for more and healthier social and economic integration.

Or if you prefer, “one step back to go two steps forward.”

**In contrast to Donald Trump, I can’t imagine FDR, in the middle of the Great Depression, using a press conference to hawk his branded water, wine, steaks, etc. (overpriced and mediocre at that).

Memo to Donald: if you want more voters to seriously consider you, put your business(es) in a blind trust yesterday, and focus on politics.

Or, don’t you have enough money (yet)?


Cars Have Front Horns. Why Not Rear Horns??

by Ross Kaplan on June 25, 2016

New Way to Deal With Tailgaters

If the driver in front of you does something they shouldn’t — or doesn’t do something they should (like move when the light turns green) — you honk.

hornEventually (it IS Minnesota).   🙂

But, what if the offending driver is behind you?

Then, it often seems like Driver #1 has no really good choices.

Make that, “me, last week.”

Sending a Signal (Literally) to the Other Driver

Being tailgated very closely on a single lane road by an especially obnoxious driver (late for an appointment?  Constitutionally impatient?  Trying to read the expiration date on my license plate??), my son and I realized that we had three options:

One. Speed up. Not a choice in this case, or at least a smart one — we were already going the speed limit (if not slightly over).

Two. Slow down/tap on the brakes (which would have activated our red brake lights).  However, given the already minuscule < 2′(?) gap between their front bumper and our rear bumper, that also seemed unwise.

Three. Encourage/allow them to pass.  In fact, that’s what we did, as soon as it was safe to pull over onto the shoulder.

Avoidance vs. Escalation

Processing all this immediately after, my creative son #2 came up with another idea:  why not a rear horn, to essentially tell such tailgating drivers to back off?

Given proliferating road rage, rampant guns, etc., I can certainly see a downside.

But, at least conceptually, that’s a PERFECT solution.

Way to go, Gabriel!!

P.S.:  Not all horn-honking is obnoxious.  I’d much rather someone honk at me if I make a mistake than “politely” refrain — and risk an accident.


Nine Straight Years!

Examples of bad emails would be ones informing you that your client came up short in multiple offers, or showing feedback trashing finding fault with superone of your listings.

Good emails?

From Mpls – St. Paul Magazine (today, in fact) informing you that you’re on the list of Minnesota Realtors they selected as “Super Real Estate Agents” for 2016.

Selection Criteria

The list is based on more than 25,000 surveys and questionnaires sent out by the magazine; the 700 or so agents on the list each year represent 3.5% of the 20,0000 agents total.

Add up all the Minnesota Realtors who’ve made the list nine years in a row, and the list shrinks to roughly 50 — or fewer than .3% of all active Minnesota agents.

See also, “Super Real Estate Agent Three-Peat (x 2!)”;  Super Realtor Semi-Finals“; “Five in a Row!“; “Super! . . . Again”; and “Many Are Text-Messaged, Few are Chosen”.

**The magazine typically announces the list publicly in its November issue.


Brexit’s and Black Swans

June 24, 2016

Known Unknowns vs. Unknown Unknowns “Britain Stuns World With Vote to Leave E.U.; Cameron Plans to Resign, and Markets Fall.” –headline, NYT (6/24/2016). Is the British exit (“Brexit”) from the European Union — roiling global stock markets today — a Black Swan? I’d say “no.” Sell First, Ask Questions Later A Black Swan is an […]

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Quick! Who Does the Selling Agent Represent?

June 23, 2016

Some Properties Are Bought, Some Are Sold True or false:  what Realtors call “the selling agent” once a deal closes represents the Seller (no, this isn’t another “Grant’s Tomb” question). Answer:  false. The agent who represents the owner/seller is called “the listing agent”; post-closing, the Buyer’s agent is referred to as “the selling agent.” Nomenclature […]

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“Name Brand” Minneapolis Neighborhoods: Linden Hills vs. Northrup (Northrup??)

June 23, 2016

Twin Cities’ Most — and Least — Known If you have kids and live in the Twin Cities, you’ve doubtless heard of Minneapolis’ Linden Hills neighborhood. With Lake Harriet on the east and Lake Calhoun on the north, terrific retail and coffee shops, and a range of housing (prices, style), it ranks amongst the Twin […]

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MLS: “Seller to Install Ductless Mini-Split”

June 22, 2016

English, Please! To be fair to the listing agent (representing the Seller), the sentence above was in the “Agent Remarks” field on MLS, not the “Public Remarks” section. But, for the benefit of Buyers whose agents print out the unabridged, “Agent Full” report (I do for my clients), here’s the translation: “This 1925 Linden Hills […]

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