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Legal FAQ's
Federal Law

Q: What types of transactions are generally not covered under RESPA? 

A: The following are not covered: an all-cash sale, a sale where the individual home seller takes back the mortgage, a rental property transaction or other business purpose transaction. 

Q: What is FIRPTA? 

A: FIRPTA is an acronym for the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act. This tax is imposed on the amount realized from the sale of real property owned by a foreign seller. There are exceptions to this tax-withholding requirement. Given the complexities of tax laws, the buyer and seller should consult with a tax specialist to determine the exact withholding amount or to determine if an exemption to the FIRPTA requirement applies. 

Q: What kinds of transactions are covered under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)? 

A: Transactions that are covered are those involving a federally related mortgage loan, which includes most loans secured by a lien (first or subordinate position) on residential property. These include home purchase loans, refinances, lender-approved assumptions, property improvement loans, equity lines of credit and reverse mortgages. 

Q: Does FIRPTA apply to a foreign buyer? 

A: No. FIRPTA applies when the seller is a foreign person, as defined by FIRPTA. However, a foreign buyer may want to consult with a tax professional if that buyer's intent is to sell the property, as then FIRPTA may apply.

Q: May a mortgage banker and a real estate broker advertise their services together, for example, on the same brochure or newspaper advertisement? 

A: Nothing in RESPA prevents joint advertising. However, each party should pay pro rata share of the cost to avoid a RESPA violation. 

Q: Does the federal do-not-call legislation apply to door-to-door solicitations? 

A: No. However, you may still be prohibited from making door-to-door solicitations if there is a community, municipal or county restriction on door-to-door solicitations or if there is a posted No Trespassing sign on the property or the community. 

Q: I’m a broker who specializes in the sale of businesses and business opportunities. I want to call businesses in my area to see if they’re interested in selling. Do the federal Do Not Call laws or regulations apply to businesses? 

A: No. The Do Not Call Registry is only for residential telephone numbers.