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I'm concerned about the following text in a real estate transaction for a home I am selling in FL. It will be difficult for me to be at closing so the title company sent me some documents to sign in front of a notary. All the documents are straightforward except 1 single document buried in the middle of the stack. It says:

"the undersigned hereby authorizes [Real Estate agent name] or [Real Estate agents title company name] to execute any and all documents on my behalf in order to sell and convey the above real property"

It has a line for date and my name but no other verbage or expiration date. I don't understand why this document is needed if i have to sign and notarize all the other documents.

  • If the closing falls through on the closing date for some reason (like issues with the buyers lender, etc) does this document give the agent or title company the power to extend the seller contract without my (the seller) consent?
  • If the money due to me at closing changes (i.e. they made a mistake or something else changed such that the funds due to me are less than i was notified about in the closing disclosure) do they have the right to sign and allow the closing to proceed even if it's not in my best interest?
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Does this document give the real estate agent and title agent the power to close even if something changes?

This is hard to ascertain without knowing more details of the contract(s). Ultimately the clause you reproduce is to be interpreted in a way that is most consistent with the rest of clauses. It is possible that other provisions in the contract preempt the risks you perceive in this specific clause.

Executing a document does not necessarily imply decision making. The latter would depend on how much discretion is granted to the agent for purposes of closing the sale. The contract might also outline the agent's liability in case of mistake.

Generally speaking, if the terms of the contract are unsatisfactory to you (be it the matter of expiration date, the possibility of unspecified extensions, and so forth), you should require the corresponding amendment(s) and decline to sign the draft presented to you.

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It gives these people the authority to close the deal on your behalf as your agents. But an agent owes fiduciary duties to the person for whom the agent is acting. These duties including duties of loyalty to you and duties of care in conducting their activities on your behalf.

Almost all (although not necessarily every) instance in the "parade of horribles" that you could imagine from granting these people the authority to close the transaction on your behalf, would constitute breaches of fiduciary duties owed to you. If they happened, you would be bound by their actions, but very likely would have the right to sue these agents for a breach of fiduciary duty.

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