“Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.”


Like barbers, Realtors aren’t known for talking people out of using their services.

Unlike Realtors, though, barbers don’t have to worry whether their prospective customers have the legal authority to hire them.

In residential real estate, that question can be raised when a long-time owner leaves their home to multiple heirs, or, the legal owner is a trust, part of an estate, etc.

Realtor Due Diligence

Fortunately, at least for Edina Realty agents, the first step in such a situation is simple: have Edina Title run what’s called a “Quick Look” to determine who — or what, in the case of a legal entity — has title to the property.

Step #2: get the signatures of all such identified parties or their representative(s), such as the trustee(s).

At least, that’s the conservative approach (and the one I follow).

When it’s not clear who has legal authority — or there are multiple decision makers, who don’t all agree about which Realtor to hire — veteran agents know to hold off until everything’s been sorted out.**

See also, “Who Owns It?”

**Expediting matters tremendously:  when one of the Sellers is an estate attorney (true of three deals I’ve handled).  At the other extreme: a messy estate that has to go through probate.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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