We’re all about the instant, aren’t we?
The fast. The cheap. Whatever’s easiest.
Even if we have to cut corners.
Unfortunately, that’s when things get a bit… fake.
Food becomes “frankenfood”, news becomes “fake news”, and service becomes… well, a disservice.
Ironically, all this convenience can make for great inconvenience.
Especially when this happens in real estate.
Imagine your house is for sale, and you’ve got an offer. (yay!) The buyers have now satisfied the conditions, so now it can be an completed sale – all you have to do is sign documents for possession day. No.... Wait...
Except you don’t know that.
Because your agent had not received the signed satisfaction of conditions document by the deadline, nor did the buyers agent even so much as notify your agent that it was signed and forthcoming.
Perhaps the buyers agent was tied up with other appointments (a.k.a.: poor time management), or the buyers were not available to sign the documents in time (poor buyer education on their contractual obligations). Regardless of the reason, not being able to email the document within the agreed upon timeframe (no excuse in the electronic age where there is an app for that) or even just snap a picture and email that for the time being is serious business and by serious, I mean it renders the transaction dead! This is contract law 101; communication of the satisfaction "in writing" and within the timeframe is an important requirement (time is of the essence) of the contractually agreed terms.
The clock ticks while you have no idea what's with your very important sale. You even have your next home purchase relying on the deadlines in your home sale. Hopefully the deal doesn’t fall through because of some unnecessary, contractually and professional standards standoff.
By the way, I’m not making this up. It happens. I know because I’ve been the sellers agent in such a circumstance. Minus the stand-off, of course, because I care about my clients and will get up and serve them. If I have to drive all the way across the entire city until the wee hours of the morning for signatures, I have and will. My record to date was finishing up at 3:30am, a small price to pay to have my clients realize their dream of their real estate transaction.
Or, imagine sitting at the lawyers’ table, ready to sign papers to finally claim your new house – but wait, what’s this? Hmm… it appears there was a critical detail missing in the offer. In one instance, not all titled owners signed the offer, and in another, a former spouse had not released her homestead right rendering the land titles office to reject the transfer of land.
Now the offer is in peril as those with authority to bind the contract on the sellers side have not all signed or one that had untitled rights (homestead) had not waived their rights in front of a Commissioner for Oaths (of which I am and could bear witness) or a notary public and now cannot sell without some legal legwork.
Too bad you sold your house already Mr and Mrs Buyer, so you could buy this one. Now you’re homeless and suddenly desperate to buy a house again, and fast.
This stuff happens. I've experienced these scenarios and more in my 25+ years as a real estate professional.
But you can protect yourself. It starts "waaaay back" at the beginning of the process though, when you hire your agent in the first place. Selecting an agent isn’t like choosing a pair of socks, where you just grab one and good enough. It’s more like choosing a tuxedo – it’s got to fit right, or you’re going to have problems; it’ll be uncomfortable and make you and the suit look really dumb. If it’s the right fit though, BAM. The both of you will stride easily and look great.
Things to look for in a quality agent:
The bottom line is that if you’re represented by someone who has a ‘good enough’ attitude, they might be putting you and your transaction at risk. There are loads of pitfalls, miles of red tape, and boat loads of rules and regs to this buying and selling thing. Rules and regulations are there for not only consumer protection, but as well to fill the gap from known troublesome areas. Corner-cutting is dangerous and can cost you a whole lot more than you ever thought.
When you research an agent online, what do you look for?