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Code of Ethics Case Studies

#4-6: Disclosure of Secured Interest in Listed Property

Buyer X was interested in purchasing a home listed with REALTOR® B but lacked the down payment. REALTOR® B offered to lend Buyer X money for the down payment in return for Buyer X's promissory note secured by a mortgage on the property. The purchase transaction was subsequently completed, though REALTOR® B did not record the promissory note or the mortgage instrument.

Within months Buyer X returned to REALTOR® B to list the property because Buyer X was unexpectedly transferred to another state. REALTOR® B listed the property, which was subsequently sold to Purchaser P. The title search conducted by Purchaser P's lender did not disclose the existence of the mortgage held by REALTOR® B since it had not been recorded, nor did REALTOR® B disclose the existence of the mortgage to Purchaser P. The proceeds of the sale enabled Buyer X to satisfy the first mortgage on the property, and he and REALTOR® B agreed that he would continue to repay REALTOR® B's loan.

Following the closing, REALTOR® B recorded both the promissory note and the mortgage instrument. When Purchaser P learned of this, he filed an ethics complaint alleging that REALTOR® B had violated Article 4 by selling property in which she had a secured interest without revealing that interest to the purchaser.

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