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Get the Facts is a Membership update sent to Washington REALTOR® members and contacts each Tuesday.  
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Weekly Membership Newsletter
November 20, 2018 • Stay Connected!

QUESTION:  Earnest money came from an outside source with no paper trail (such as buyer's bank statement showing that the EM funds belonged to buyer). Escrow says lender is requiring these funds be returned to buyer before they will fund the loan. Buyer is not planning to replace the funds. What impact does this have on the transaction? Can escrow release the EM to buyer under these circumstances?

ANSWER:  This is a ridiculous position for any lender or escrow officer to take. If the lender does not want to allow buyer use of the unverifiable funds, then lender can simply require buyer to bring new funds to the closing table, to make up for the unverifiable EM. With that, the original EM would stay in trust until after closing at which time, it would be released to buyer.
Lender has no authority to rewrite the terms of the PSA between buyer and seller. The PSA requires buyer's deposit of EM and makes the EM available to seller as liquidated damages should buyer breach the PSA. If lender and escrow work together to release those funds to buyer prior to closing and the sale fails because of buyer's breach, who will compensate seller for the missing earnest money? If buyer's financing is truly dependent upon the original EM being returned to buyer, then buyer will have to replace the old EM with new EM from a verifiable source.
Escrow owes fiduciary duties to buyer and seller. Escrow may not release the EM to buyer, on buyer's lender's instruction, without the written permission of seller. If seller will allow the buyer to proceed to closing with no EM protection for seller, then seller could agree to release the EM funds to buyer but absent seller's agreement, escrow cannot release buyer's EM funds to buyer while the transaction is pending.


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 or leave a message at 800.562.6027. Please include your NRDS number.

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Reminder: Thanksgiving AND the Day After are Holidays
Both Thanksgiving Day AND the Friday following Thanksgiving known as Native American Heritage Day are state holidays per RCW 1.16.050. They are not considered business days for the purposes of computing time. If you have questions regarding the Computation of Time, Annie Fitzsimmons has a Fundamentals Video on this topic.
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Legislative Day Registration is Open
Join REALTORS® from across the state for our annual Legislative Day event! One of our most energized events, Legislative Day is a wonderful opportunity to get involved in many ways. Attend Committee Day and help shape the association and how we advocate on the Hill. Join us for an informative General Session on Thursday and then travel with us to the Capitol Campus where you'll have the opportunity to talk with Legislators face to face about issues that affect you, your business and consumers. See you there!
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Becoming an Influencer in Your Real Estate Market
(Source: The YPN Lounge) The competition is fierce, so your approach to standing out in the crowd needs to be unique and consistent. One option is becoming an Instagram influencer.
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Google Your Way to Saving Time
(Source: Tech Helpline) Learning Google search shortcuts can save you a lot of time! Here's a look at the most frequently used Google search shortcuts you can enter in the Google search box for speedier answers.
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Primary Mortgage Rates Survey
(updated every Thursday)  Source:  Freddie Mac
  November 15, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.94%  4.36%  4.14%
 Fees & Points  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.77

  November 8, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.94%  4.33%  4.14%
 Fees & Points  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.77

  November 1, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.83%  4.23%  4.04%
 Fees & Points  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.77

  October 25, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.86%  4.29%  4.14%
 Fees & PointsHTML  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.77

Date Class Location CE  
29-NOV  NAR Code of Ethics Webinar 3.0 More info...
29-NOV  Water Rights & Supply Issues Kennewick 3.5 More info...
30-NOV  The Hotline Vs. The Bottom Line Langley 7.5 More info...
05-DEC NAR Code of EthicsWebinar3.0More info...
06-DECNAR Code of EthicsVancouver3.0More info...
11-DEC NAR Code of EthicsOlympia3.0More info...
13-DECNAR Code of EthicsWebinar3.0More info...
14-DECTrends Trade ShowSeattle3.0More info...
20-DECNAR Code of EthicsWebinar3.0More info...

More Classes →

Washington REALTORS® will host COE Webinars starting in August to assist members with completing the mandatory training. Don't wait until the last minute, though! These webinars are capped and they fill up fast...