Murfreesboro TN Homes: Don't Take Reading & Writing Offers SO SERIOUSLY! It's JUST a Legally Binding Contract!!

Don't Take Reading & Writing Offers SO SERIOUSLY! It's JUST a Legally Binding Contract!!

I wrote a blog post this week called Before You Sign Read Every Line where I talked about the fiduciary responsibilityReal Estate Contracts in Brentwood TN that we have to our clients to make sure we thoroughly read the contract.  We have a fiduciary responsibility to make sure that we read and understand every line and are positive that the contract is written in a manner that reflects our buyer's or seller's intentions.  The way a contract is worded can literally mean thousands of dollars in a real estate transaction!  I take this responsibility very seriously when preparing an offer.  

There are countless numbers of knowledgeable and professional real estate agents.  However, I seem to be overblessed with coming into contact with those that don't share my passion about reading every line!  Most offers in our area are written on a TAR (Tennessee Association of Realtors) contract.  I would assume that anyone in the real estate business in this area would be very familiar with the contract!  Since it is standard and customary for homes here to convey with stoves, dishwashers, and built-in microwaves this language is preprinted as a default in all TAR contracts. It clearly says that ranges, and all built-in appliances are to remain in the home.  

Below this default clause is:    

Other items that will REMAIN with the property at no additional cost to buyer: 

 

Items that WILL NOT REMAIN with the property. 

 

The words REMAIN and WILL NOT REMAIN are capitalized and bolded just as I typed above.  There is a large blank paragraph beneath each line to allow room for items to be listed.  It is not customary for a refrigerator or washers and dryers to remain.  If a buyer wants to negotiate for these items to remain with the home they would be listed in the section that allows for OTHER items that will REMAIN. The paragraph for items that WILL NOT REMAIN is rarely used but comes into play if there is some type of mirror or light fixture that the seller is attached to (and SHOULD have been removed before the home was listed but that is another blog!) or in the rare cases where there is junk or debris that the buyer wants to ensure is removed. 

I received an offer this week on one of my listings.  The buyer's agent emailed an offer to me without calling to let me know that she was going to be sending an offer or calling to confirm that it had been received.  I don't expect a phone call every time something is sent over, but I do appreciate a courtesy call to let me know an offer is on the way!  Since the email address was from a popular junk-type email account and also contained attachments, it was read by my server as junk mail.  Thankfully, I check my junk mail folder most every day and found her offer which only gave us a few hours to respond!  

After taking the time to READ her offer, the first thing I noticed was that her buyer's did NOT want the stove, dishwasherKitchens Appliances in Brentwood TN Homes and microwave to remain.  Since so many people are going to stainless steel I thought perhaps her buyers were going to upgrade the kitchen and didn't want the hassle of having the old appliances removed.  There would be no reason to write stove, dishwasher, and microwave in the contract to REMAIN with the property because they are already clearly listed in the preprinted default paragraph.  And, the contract is very clear that these items WILL NOT REMAIN with the property. 

But, since this isn't my first rodeo I picked up the phone and called the buyer's agent.  I stated that I had found her offer in my junk mail (no response) and would be talking with my seller's immediately.  I told her that their request to have the stove, dishwasher, and microwave removed were unusal so I just wanted to confirm that the contract was written correctly.  She stated that yes, of course those items had to stay with the home.  Again, I pointed out that she had manually written in the contract that those items WILL NOT REMAIN.  The agent suddenly had a light-bulb moment and said, "Oh, it was late when I wrote that up.  I meant they should remain so just change it."

My first thought was...WHY are you not familiar with your own contract?   

It makes no sense to me that an agent would restate the terms of her own contract; and restate them in a way that completely CHANGED what is standard and customary.  I understand we all get tired.  I understand we all make mistakes.  I just couldn't fathom that this potential huge mistake was the result of putting something in the contract that didn't need to be put there from the beginning!  

My seller's did not accept the original offer so I added that those items would REMAIN with the property in our counter offer.  I couldn't help but think had I not taken the time to call the agent and confirm her buyer's intentions, we would have prepared our counter only changing the price.  The buyer's agent had no idea that she had worded her original offer incorrectly and they would have countered based solely on price.    If that had happened, we would now have a finalized contract in place that left her buyer's in a new home with a kitchen that had zero appliances. By her not being familiar with the standard TAR contract, or trying to re-state items that are already clearly included in the contract, she almost cost hereself, and her clients a lot of money!  

In negotiating this deal there have been other "Oh, I meant..."or "we will just put this in the contract but might have to change it later" statements that have come up!  So, once again I am shaking my head and wondering where is the fiduciary duty that we are obligated to have with our clients!!  Do agents seriously have their clients signs documents with the belief that "everyone will just have to understand we may have to change this later?"

I'm wondering perhaps if it is ME that needs to lighten up and not take things so seriously!  After all, it's JUST a legally binding contract!  We can always change it later!

 

 

 

 

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Comment balloon 85 commentsSherri Berry • August 14 2011 10:14AM

Comments

Knowing the contract, inside and out is absolutely critical. Our buyers need to know what they are signing. Thanks for posting.

Posted by David Burrows, No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate (Classic Realty) about 7 years ago

Sherri, you are absolutley right.  I also make sure my buyers/sellers read every contract line by line.  It takes forever, but I'd rather have the comfort of saying everyone read the contract than having it come back and bite me later.  Have a great day!!  Suggested!

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) about 7 years ago

An interesting blog post that I enjoyed reading. Thank you for sharing it!

Posted by J. A. Michail, Real Property Management of Sarasota & M (Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee) about 7 years ago

EXCELLENT post, Sherri. Receipt or completion of any contract should madate us taking a "time out" to REALLY review the content --- it's in the best interest of our client and isn't THAT our sole responsibility & goal???

Posted by Brenda Mayette, Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how! (Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc.) about 7 years ago

BRAVO Sherri! Our Purchase Contract (in California) was revised more than a year ago and I still hear agents say "but the contract says....", well, no, that verbiage hasn't been in the contract since April, 2010.  I believe actually READING the contract yourself before asking your clients to sign a legal document is an important part of our Fiduciary responsibility.  Call me crazy.

Posted by Wendy Cutrufelli, Contra Costa Realtor (Alain Pinel Realtors) about 7 years ago

In our area it is not unusual for a property to be sold fully (or partially) furnished so this can be a real issue.  I've seen all kinds of crazy things in a contract.

I learned my lesson about NOT putting a statement in the contract re: appliances several years ago.  During a preclosing walk-thru with a client we found that all of the high-end appliances had been taken out and replaced with garage sale junk.  The seller's opinion was that the disclosure statement (which was part of the contract) just stated "stove, dishwasher, etc..." but did not specify which ones.  We got it worked out, but I now put a stip in that says appliances (furnishings, whatever...) seen in the property on a specific date stay with the property at no additional cost to the buyer. I've even seen agents put in actual model numbers....

99% of sellers would never even consider it, but you have to be prepared for all kinds!

Posted by Gayle Barton, Forsyth County Real Estate, Cumming GA Homes For Sale (404) 710-0204 (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY Georgia Properties) about 7 years ago
I wonder what her buyers would've thought if the sale had gone forward with the sellers removing those items she mistakenly marked as not included! Not sure saying she 'd been tired would've made them happier!
Posted by Nancy Conner, Olympia/Thurston County WA about 7 years ago

Thanks for suggesting my post Mike!  I don't want things coming back to bite me either!  

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Brenda - That's how I feel!  We are all human and can make mistakes which is why it is SO CRITICAL that we take the time to go back and reread the contract and go over it again with our clients!  After all, that's what we are paid to do!

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Brenda - we are both crazy then!  Don't you just love the comments from agents referring to a contract that's been outdated forever!  We've had a change to the way termite letters are ordered in our contracts.  I'm sure two or three years from now we will still have agents that haven't noticed this change! 

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Gayle that just floors me that a seller would attempt to do that!  But then again nothing that people do anymore should surprise me.  That's why it is so important that we are knowledgeable with our contracts and make sure they are written correctly!  

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Nancy, I have pondered that myself several times.  I know the client's signs the contract but I really believe it would have come back on the agent and she would have been purchasing new appliances.  She had the fiduciary responsibility to write the contract correctly.  But then again, buyers and sellers should be reading what they sign!  It wouldn't have been a happy ending!

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

HI Sherri,

Superr good and super relevant post!

Taking the time to re-read an offer, re-read an email or any correspondence always helps. It's a good habit to develop and pays dividends.

I agree with you to that the other realtor should have called you prior to preparing an offer to see if the listing was still good and then to give you a head's up that an offer was on its' way.

Fiduciary Obligation is a BIG deal and we all have to remember that in our day to day activities.

Keep up the good work!

Bill MacBride

Posted by Bill MacBride, Mammoth Lakes Resort Real Estate (Ski-in/Ski-out, Luxury homes, Second Home Buyers) about 7 years ago

Great post and important reminder to take the time it takes to get it right and represent your clients with 110%.

Posted by Cy Phillips (Space Simply - President & CEO) about 7 years ago

I talk about this all the time.  Most agents in my area have no idea what the contract really means and they don't take it very seriously at all.  I once had a broker on the other side of the transaction ask me to explain something about the contract to him!

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) about 7 years ago

Bill thanks for your comments!  Its nice to know so many others agents think fiduciary obligaton is a BIG deal like me! 

 

Cy - Thanks so much for commenting.  We all need to remember to stop and take a few minutes to review.  Our job of representation is so important!  

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Buyers need to read the whole thing but probably won't unless we insist and wait while they do.   It helps to send them a copy of the blank form before they even find the right house so when they see it as they're ready to make an offer, their eyes won't glaze over. 

The paragraph you referred to is probably the most frequently mis-read or not read and potentially trouble-making.    Another one that agents are apt to mis-remember in TN is who orders the wood-boring pest inspection and when.  

 

Posted by Mary Sheridan, Creative Marketing, Buyer Agency 423-943-7655 (Keller Willliams - 1033 Hamilton Place,Johnson City TN 37604) about 7 years ago

Hi Justin, Agents that don't understand the contracts with work, and refuse to take the time to become knowledgeable is embarrassing to me as a fellow agent.  Agents that claim to be fidcuiary representatives but fail to understand the contracts or take them seriously seem to be fairly easy to find!  Once they land up in court perhaps they will realize this isn't a quick money transaction or a game.  Thanks for your comments.

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Mary that is exactly why I take my our jobs as fiduciary agents so seriously.  Buyers and sellers are trusting us and depending on us to write contracts that represent their intentions and look out for their best interests.  The change in the way termite inspections are ordered is sure to cause a lot of grief in the upcoming months.  

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago
It's a little crazy to have to say it - but it sure does need to be said!
Posted by Jean Singleton, Specializing in Your Special Needs (Keller Williams Capital District) about 7 years ago

Another thought about reading the contract:   I have a pre-prepared list of the lines where crucial blanks occur, so they can be thinking ahead about the decisions they'll need to make regardless of what property they decide on.   This is particularly useful when they're making the offer after they've returned home.   It's easy at that time to remind them how important this paragraph is, and that some things they may take for granted wherever they live may not be customary where they're going.  

Posted by Mary Sheridan, Creative Marketing, Buyer Agency 423-943-7655 (Keller Willliams - 1033 Hamilton Place,Johnson City TN 37604) about 7 years ago

Hi Sherri! Great post! We all need to be reminded to slow down and be more detail oriented! Thank you!

Posted by Mike Litton, Realtor - 760-802-9500 - Homes For Sale Escondido (Keller Williams Realty North County San Diego) about 7 years ago

Sherri,

Wow! Sounds like a part timer or a newbie to me. Still, this shows a clear lack of training. We have a mandatory PA in Louisiana that sounds very similar to the TAR. We have to take mandatory CE classes every couple of years or so on just the standard contract.

Posted by Scotti Jowers, Realtor - West Monroe, Louisiana Homes for Sale (CENTURY 21 Shackelford French, Search West Monroe Homes ) about 7 years ago

Sheeri, pretty soon we will all really be reading the "Terms and conditions" on the internet 12 page disclosires too.  Its a crying shame how litigious we are as a people, you should just be able to do your job

 

Posted by Glenn Freezman (Nucazza LLP & Home Buying Evolution, & Family Abstract, Inc) about 7 years ago

Scott - Lack of training or lack of knowledge.  There are some agents who just don't grasp how serious this is.  It's the laid back "oh well, just change it" attitude that I seem to run in to more and more that bothers me.  

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Glenn - I agree we have become a sue happy society!  I remember when an offer was just that - an offer!  Now there are pages and pages of dislcosures and addendums that have to be attached.  The offer is nine pages, the CYA disclosure forms add another 16 to the pile.  But it is our job to understand and be able to explain every line, of every page, on every form!

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

I always find it humorous when someone fills out the "fill in the blank" contracts wrong. You've gotta wonder how much business they do!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) about 7 years ago

Sherri,

Thanks for bring up this important topic.  It's a subject near and dear to my heart.  The California Association of Realtors (CAR) standard purchase agreement has grown to 8 pages and many agents don't know what it says.  Reading and understanding the contract is not in their job description, I guess.

Cudos to you for avoiding a potentially transaction-killing problem by calling and talking to the other agent.

On a somewhat related subject, which your post reminded me of; digital signing software is a great convenience, but can lead to more problems caused by not reading the contract.  It's up to us to make sure our clients understand what the contract says especially when it can all be signed with a simple mouse click.

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) about 7 years ago

Sherri -- Just last week I was going over a contract word by word with a buyer before she signed to make sure the she understood it and also to ensure everything was to her satisfaction.  I was in an area where I was overheard and was questioned by someone after, 'Do you do that for EVERY contract?".  uh...yes....it's a CONTRACT!!!!

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Hi Lloyd, Eight pages that agents should know like the back of their hand, but sadly so many do not!  

I agree that the burden is even greater on the agent when using the digital signing software.  We just started the paperless system and I check, recheck, and check again before forwarding documents to my clients for their "signature!"  I think the digital signature is extremely convenient but also takes away the feeling of documents being official or legally binding that clients feel when they are meeting in person and signing in ink.   

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Thanks for the post today.  I enjoyed the read today.  Knowing how to write a contract, adding contingency clauses, dates, is key.  Having an experienced Realtor is helpful for sure. 

Patricia Aulson/ Seacoast NH & ME

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) about 7 years ago

Barbara - I hope that comment wasn't from another Realtor!  In my other post on fiduciary duty I talked about an agent who informed me that no one reads the preprinted parts of contracts!  I don't know about you but I pay special attention to preprinted clauses!  Especially if working with a builder's contract!!  

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

PS......When I first started out as a Realtor in NJ.....an Attorney was required.  We would write up a contract and then it went to a real estate attorney for a ten day review.  If there was anything of importance left out, the Attorney would make the client aware of it and add/or delete where necessary to "protect the client!"  Now here in NH an attorney review isn't needed.

 

Patricia Aulson/ Seacoast NH & ME

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) about 7 years ago

Patricia, I can honestly say that I am SO GRATEFUL we do not have a ten day attorney review process here!  

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Sherri....no, you should not lighten up - it is the others who should follow your advice.  You are right - it is a legally binding contract.  As an attorney, naturally, I take it very seriously & it drives me nuts.  Like you, there are times when I have a feeling they have not read it carefully I end up making a call to make sure they have it straight.

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) about 7 years ago

I think most people in general today, whether they are clients, buyer's agents, title closers, attorneys, etc. very seldom read or/and explain every single line of every contract or legal document.  It may not be the correct way to go, but I think for the majority of people and transactions, that is the way it is. 

Posted by KAREN THOMPSON, GRI, REALTOR, Colorado Homebuyer Pro (KTHOMES, LLC) about 7 years ago

Hi Sherri! Great post. It is amazing that this happens so frequently - and it's so often "Not a big deal"...
I go over the contracts with both my buyers & sellers because it is the only way THEY will actually read through it. Even after that, our (optional here) three day attorney review often stirs up more "stuff".
Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work. YOU are doing it right!
Bruce

 

Posted by Bruce Kunz, REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale (C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100) about 7 years ago

Hi Christine, I am surprised that there aren't more lawsuits given the number of times I seem to run into this type of problem.  I can only assume that people are walking away unhappy or agents are paying up in some cases.  I prefer to keep my hard earned commission in my pocket AND stay out of the courtroom! 

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Here in Manhattan as an agent we do not come up with the contracts, a real estate attorney does, but even said we always let our buyers and sellers know to be diligent about reading and going over everything.

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Hi Bruce!  It is amazing that it happens so frequently.  What bothers me the most is that it seems to be almost the norm anymore for agents not to be familiar with the contract or pay attention to the way things are worded.  We are dealing in thousands and thousands of dollars with these contracts!  I would think people would take that responsibility very seriously!  Thanks so much for your comments!!

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Ooops, i ahve blogged aabout this and it is an important distinction...the duty that exists between a real estate agent and a client is not a fiduciary duty; it is contractual

Posted by Paddy Deighan JD PhD, Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D (TimeshareLawyers.pro) about 7 years ago

Sherri: I was fortunate enough to write up two different contracts last night, one a new offer on a short sale and the other on a vacant land swap. Each had its own little wrinkles. You bet I read everything line for line, and then was able to explain it to my client today, line for line. And no way would I just email them off without a lot of fanfare.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) about 7 years ago
I love when I get offers from out of the area agents, since they don't know our local contract and often give away things for their buyers that they didn't need to.
Posted by Chris Eckert Real EstateTeam, Selling the Mid-Peninsula Realtor (Keller Williams Realty) about 7 years ago

You are so diligent to go over every line and this is as it should be. And as you know not everyone does this. I think they really don't even know what they are doing!

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) about 7 years ago

Does TN use standard contract forms? This topic is Basic Real Estate 101; it's hard to comprehend agents that fail miserably in the most basic and essential functions of practice!

Posted by Mike Mayer (Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC) about 7 years ago

Sherri - This is why I go crazy every time the board changes our contract.  I have to go relearn it all over again.  They're important.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) about 7 years ago

Hi Hella!  Congratulations on writing two offers in one night, especially in our current market!  Your clients are lucky to have an agent that protecs their interest by READING the contracts!  Thanks for your comments.

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Hi Chris, I know exactly what you mean!  It would seem in those situations that the agents would be paying even closer attention to the contract!

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Hi Sandy, It is obvious that some agents really don't know what they are doing!  Sad for their clients because it makes a huge difference in a transaction! 

 

Hi Mike, Tennessee does have a standard contract. It is the most common used contract but there are still some companies and builders that use their own form.  If you sell real estate in this area most of your offers will be presented on the TAR contract.  Agents here should know this document like the back of their hand.  It is basis Real Estate 101.  What's worse is the offer came from this agent on the TAR form so it was HER contract.

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

I've worked closings where the buyer agent didn't read the bank-owned contract thoroughly and had their buyers signed. Most of the time, the didn't pay attention to the closing date, firm loan commitment deadline, inspection deadline, and the $0.00 Closing cost. Once it is signed by the seller, it is binding. I've also noticed the change in lenders midway without notifying the seller side.

Posted by Carolyn Nelson, The Best Broker in Alamance County! (REALTYONE 247) about 7 years ago

I have seen so many contracts carelessly written. I believe it is luck many of these did not lead to issues.  Fortunately one side of the deal has a conscientious agent!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 7 years ago

Sherri - we have similar language (as probably most states do), but what we are finding here (and you possibly are in your area) is that many items considered standard to remain with the property have been removed by frustrated short sale sellers.....the bottom line is we, as professionals, need to take the skill, care & diligence we are responsible for on every transaction and contract written.

Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) about 7 years ago

Please take time when writing offers. This is a real game.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) about 7 years ago

Sherri,  Very good post.  I totally empathize with your frustration.  I'm on board with you - keep reading - and you'll keep growing your business!  God Bless You.

Posted by Temple Schneider Callahan, Search Ventura County Homes For Sale CA (Connect Real Estate - REALTOR / BROKER) about 7 years ago

Sherri, it appears the agent didn't go over the contract with the buyers. This mistake would have been easily seen and caught.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 7 years ago

Sherri, no you shouldn't lighten-up.

To me, this is one of the most important things to do when writing a contract.

I go over every item with the buyer, then we fill in the blanks accordingly, I then ask them to look at the contract and verify I have fulfilled all their requests. I have them initial next to the price. If there are any other unusual requests like remove all appliances from the home, I also have them initial next to that.

This provides an extra set of eyes double-checking my work so I don't send a contract with glaring mistakes. I always proof the contract one more time before sending it off to the listing agent. And I always call to let them know an offer is on the way and ask that they send an email or text confirming that it was received. Especially, if there is a deadline to meet.

It's a good thing you caught this agent's mistake and saved her clients thousands of dollars or she might be replacing those items out of her commission.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) about 7 years ago
I am still amazes every day at the lack of contractural knowledge that many agents have. I see very poor and incomplete contracts all the time.
Posted by Paula McDonald, Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury) about 7 years ago

Gary - I agree that it is a miracle there are not more lawsuits involving real estate transactions! 

 

Carol - Thanks for your comments.  WE are professionals!  Unfortunately not all agents are which gives us a bad reputation with many individuals.  

 

Hi Tammie - It wouldn't appear that they went over the contract with the buyers at all.  I'm like you and go over everything before I meet with them, with them, and review after everything is signed before I send it.  I always have buyers initial every page a well.  The new eSign is changing that process some which means I have to be even more cautious with how things are written.  Thanks for your comments! 

 

Paula - It amazes me too!  No matter how many times I see it, it just amazes me that you csn be in this business and NOT be able to complete a contract without major mistakes.  

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Sherri, I just got an iPad2 and have decided to use the signmypad app. So like you, I'll have to be a little more diligent with clients. Geat topic, by the way.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) about 7 years ago

Tammie I would like to know your thoughts on your iPad2 after you have had a while to use it.  I've been thinking about getting one and just can't decide.  I love, love, love my Macbook Pro and the convenience of the eSignatures.  Seems like a tablet would be even easier than eSign.  

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Many agents in our area leave MANY things blank on the offer and it drives me crazy!  One agent sent an offer to me with the personal property left blank (of what the buyers did want to remain).  I called her just to ask about all the blanks and told her that I was going to write NA in all the blanks if that was okay.  She agreed.  Lo and behold at the final walkthrough the buyers wanted to know where the refrigerator was! The agent ended up buying a new refrigerator for the buyers because she said "she was in a hurry to get signatures and forgot to write in refrigerator when she got back into her car".  You would think my call would have prompted her to mention that but it didnt.

But I have made a few mistakes myself.  SOOOOO important not to let rushing through something cost you more than you are prepared to pay!  Great post! Thanks!

Posted by Teresa Tedder (Carolina Realty of Wilkes Inc) about 7 years ago

As agents we should know our contracts thoroughly. It is just as important that we educate our buyers on the content and the seriousness of the information. It amazes me that so many agents do not complete all of the blanks. I have a lot of trouble with this also.

Betty

Posted by Team Honeycutt (Allen Tate) about 7 years ago

Sherri, I plan on writing a post after I've used it for a couple of weeks so be on the lookout.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) about 7 years ago

No, unfortunately, it's not just you.  I see lots of very sloppy, handwritten sales contracts which, I think, puts our industry to shame. 

Posted by Catherine Marrone, West Newbury MA real estate, Essex County (Integrity Residential Brokerage LLC) about 7 years ago

Sounds like you do an awesome job for your clients, keep up the good work. I know many times it feels like we are training other agents and as long as that is what it takes to give my clients the best service then so be it.

Posted by Robby Leviton, Knowles Team (Keller Williams Realty) about 7 years ago

It seems we all have these same problems with people not reading, (or understanding) the contract.   Our preprinted offer causes last minute problems with our lenders . . .  I had a deal closing last week and the lender refused to provide funds on the day because she insisted upon an Amendment to the Agreement stating the Seller would provide vacant possession.  I pointed out that was a standard clause already included on the preprinted form but she kept insisting upon a signature from Sellers who had already moved to Europe!!   I finally had to go over her head and point out her inability to read and comprehend information!

Posted by Susan Emo, Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area (Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage) about 7 years ago

Hi Sherri. I don't know what that buyer's agent was thinking about when she first wrote that contract. It's our fiduciary duty to explain everything in those contracts before our clients sign them. Our Texas contracts have recently been updated, and we just have to fill in the blanks for the most part. We are discouraged from writing anything in Special Provisions, since we are not lawyers.

Posted by Jerry Newman, Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation (Brown Realty, 210-789-4216,www.JeremiahNewman.com) about 7 years ago

AMEN! This is such a pet peeve of mine. The TAR forms are also the standard here and I have received so many poorly written offers that it is scary. I'm surprised there hasn't been more lawsuits from agents rushing through and not filling the purchase and sale agreement out properly.

The biggest issue that I have is with agents not filling in anything on inspections. There has been sooo many times I've had to call the other agent and ask whether they were getting inspections or not. Most of the time they forget to check the little waive inspection box but occassionally one will say oh I forgot to put in the inspection days. Also I was taught that every blank has to be filled in even if it's with an N/A and most agents I have encountered leave half the offer blank. Drives me nuts. Agents need to slow down and pay attention as to me this the most important part of representing a client.

Posted by Kristy Baker (Century 21 Act III Realty) about 7 years ago

Interesting post and excuse by the buyer's agent.

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) about 7 years ago

I love REALTORS who scribble illegible contract clauses with crayon on the tops of their car hoods.

Posted by Jim McCormack, Nashville Short Sale REALTOR - Stop Foreclosure (Nashville Short Sale Specialist - Jim McCormack - Edge Advantage Realty, LLC - 615-784-EDGE (3343)) about 7 years ago

Listing and offer forms ARE our ONLY business.  Everything else we do is to get to the point of an offer, and hopefully a sale. THIS IS WHAT WE REALLY GET PAID FOR.  Not to be able to fill out these documents properly, know them intimately, and be able to explain them competently is why the public sees us lower on the tier than we see ourselves and profess to be.  Incompetent agents should be outed, they demean us all.

Posted by Ken Anderson, Broker in Burlington, Ontario (Apex Results Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 7 years ago

A few years ago I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation by a man who is expert at teaching sales people how to work with buyers and sellers from a variety of different cultures.

I wish I could remember which nationality it was (or maybe better if I don't?) but he said that one group sees a contract as a starting point. To them, a purchase contract is an "agreement to come to an agreement" so from that point they begin negotiating.

Perhaps this agent belongs to that culture?

If so, she needs to go back to school and learn that a contract is a contract.

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) about 7 years ago

So well put.  It amazes me how agents write incorrect information, counter and write things that don't need to be written.  I am dealing with one now that is totally miswritten!  Best of luck!

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) about 7 years ago

Can you imagine -- no appliances?  Unfortunately I can top it as I had an agent who put the wrong address on a contract--I had two listings on the same street and offer came in with the other address not the one the Buyers wanted.  The only reason I caught it was because of something they asked to stay with property.  It wasn't the house for which the contract was written but one 2 doors away. 

Posted by Judi Monday, CRS-Green Valley AZ Expert, Green Valley Arizona R (RE/MAX Valley Properties) about 7 years ago

I had an agent call me and say, "I see you have checked the box that Buyer waives inspection." I replied, "If it says that, it was not intentional, I am quite sure I checked the boxes correctly and it was double checked by my Principal Broker before sending it to you. Please go back and take a closer look, if it is indeed incorrect, please send a Seller Counter with the corrections in place." I went back to the office and saw the contract was written correctly, not an error in sight.  There is, however, a box under that paragraph for lead paint addendum which was marked, but they should have realized it was correct while reading it back to me.  There are days when we all just need to slow down! Excellent post

Posted by Barbara Le Pine, Your agent for the Central Oregon Coast! (Advantage Real Estate, serving Lincoln County) about 7 years ago

Judi...I am speechless!  Wow!  I think that wins the all time award for biggest mistake in a contract!!  I hope that other agent bought you lunch for a year for catching that mistake!

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Barbara - Don't you just hate that when you panick over something you haven't done!  I've had a few similar cases.  Thanks so much for your comments!  We all get busy and we all need to slow down and re-read!  

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) about 7 years ago

Shame on the buyer's agent, but why didn't the buyer read the contract?  For all they know the agent could've put something in there stating she would get a $10,000 bonus paid by the buyer?  

Posted by Chanda Barrick, in referral (Keller Williams Indy Metro Northeast) about 7 years ago

Like you, I take the contract seriously Sherri.  The agent should have reviewed her contract to make sure everything was correct, that is unacceptable and if you didn't call her to confirm what remained with the house she would have been buying appliances for her buyers!

Posted by Patricia Beck, Colorado Springs Realty (RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE) about 7 years ago

The language in the TAR agreement of sale seems similar to the Pennsylvania AOS.  In order to avoid potential issues, when appliances are included in the sale, I have started to add the words "appliances included in this sale are those that were observed in the kitchen during the showing of the home."  I've heard too many stories where a stainless steel refrigerator was replaced with the spare refrigerator that had been in the basement.  The buyer's believes they're getting one thing, and the seller says hey, we said a refrigerator was included, we just didn't say which one.  Unfortunately, you've got to cover all the angles.

Posted by Brad Baylor (ERA Coup Agency) about 7 years ago

Well that could have been a major issue.  I also do not "Make Changes" to contracts for people.  Some one made a change to my clients contract to correct their own error one time.  We let it go as that bank was hard to work with and it did not materially effect the issues important to my client.  However, when my clients loan fell apart - after the contingency was removed - we pointed out that contract alterations and used that as leverage to get the deposit back.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) about 7 years ago

I have read contracts completely and am amazed when representatives, like home insurance, don't know their own contracts! My wife on the other hand hates the legal gobblediguck and signs anything that I do! I red over everything to my client so that they understand and it makes it harder to come back against me. That would make a second strike against the other agent since their client didn't catch their mistake when they signed the contract.

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) about 7 years ago

You are 100% on target and I, like many, many other agents, share your frustration. I am so tired, of sloppy, lazt, carelss agents. This job is hard enough these days and I don't think any agent is so busy they can't take the time to check the contract before sending it. And she obviously didn'y have her clients read it befor they signed it, as it is the kind of error that even a layman could find easily. Fortunately, these agents are in the minority, or the rest of us might lose our minds.

Posted by Linda Fidgeon, Make your next move your best move! (Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Page Realty) about 7 years ago

Well, it sure takes longer to sign an offer when you are actually reading what you are signing!

Posted by Beverly Femia, Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) about 7 years ago

I am SO with you - I am a details person, but when it comes to contracts EVERYONE should be a details person.  I was talking to a lawyer the other day who was going to review something for one of my buyers (which doesn't happen regularly in these parts) and he was just chuckling about our forms and Real Estate Agents and things he sees...he said "don't get me started."  But I kind of wanted to get him started and in many cases I'm sure I'd agree with him. -Kasey

Posted by Kasey & John Boles, Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties (Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com) about 7 years ago

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