The Lowering of Standards to the Mostly Ratified Contract

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA VA License # 0225089470

The Lowering of Standards to the Mostly Ratified Contract

I don't know when getting a ratified contract became so freaking difficult.  The market in Northern Virginia is moving at a break neck pace, but when we receive an offer on our listings, shouldn't we actually look at it first and then make sure, if the terms are acceptable to our sellers that we get them to initial EVERYWHERE they need to.  You can't miss an initial and have a ratified contract.

But wait, it seems that missing initials, missing contact information and missing notification delivery specifications are EXACTLY what I'm getting back from Listing Agents when they send me "ratified contracts."

What the heck?  Can we not sit down, take a sip of our favorite beverage and a deep breath before embarking on sending a contract out for final signatures to make sure we provide everything we need to?

When sitting with sellers in person, I make sure to highlight every place they need to sign or initial.  If they counter an offer, I circle where initials are not missed by the Buyer's Agent.  When using DocuSign, I take my time and crawl through the paperwork page by page.  Hurrying leads to mistakes and those can be costly in real estate.  And no matter how I do it, I make sure to double check my work.

So today, yet another Buyer-client has a "mostly ratified" contract.  I'm sending it back out to the Listing Agent one more time for the initials she missed from her client the first second time around.  Third time's a charm.


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Anna Banana Kruchten
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Broker Phoenix Property Shoppe - AZ Top Banana!

Chtris Ann I hear you loud and clear,  It takes so little time to go back over the contract one last time before sending. It's so easy - come on people - you can do this, really you can!  But of course I'm speaking to the choir on Active Rain.

May 19, 2012 06:40 PM #1
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Selling Daytona paradise for heavenly good prices

Chris Ann - excellent and so timely post. It is simply mind boggling that agents, who use the same form again and again, would be missing initials or signatures, and you have to come back again and again.

Usually the forms are simple and there is either the space for initials or for a signature and date. But every time I get Lead-Based Paint disclosure, it is a disaster. The form has space for initials on top, then half way down there are initials provided for the seller and for the Buyer, and then down the page there is a place for a signature and date of the Sellers and Buyers, but there is also the intial of the Listing agent that he explained to the Seller the importance of this imfomation, and then there are also sognatures of the listing and the Selling agent.

never ever saw it filled the way it is supposed to

May 19, 2012 06:43 PM #2
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Selling Daytona paradise for heavenly good prices

Chris Ann - I think this is important to all of us. I am sure it is not only here in Florida, and only in Virgiania. "Suggested"

May 19, 2012 06:44 PM #3
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate
Hi Chris Ann - Kinda seems like writing a contract ought to an easy task to master, but from the number of agents who can't get it right, it must be pretty hard.
May 19, 2012 06:44 PM #4
Nancy Conner
Managing Broker - City Realty Inc - Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA
Yes, that casual disregard for getting ALL the necessary signatures and initials kind of drives me crazy - and can really put a client at risk if the other side decides they want out of the deal....oh, wait, it isn't quite a real deal....
May 19, 2012 07:09 PM #5
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Chris Ann, it is amazing how many offers we get that need more scrutinizing!   If we don't catch it, the underwriter does, and could hold up a closing!   EYES are on it!

May 19, 2012 07:25 PM #6
Emily Medvec
Keller Williams Santa Fe - Santa Fe, NM
Realtor, Santa Fe NM |CNE CRS RSPS | 505-660-4541
Right on target about making sure a contract is a contract. Lately, I have had offers arrive without consideration aka earnest money! We may be all working electronically, but we are failing our buyers and sellers when offers miss initials and signatures! Suggested
May 19, 2012 09:25 PM #7
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Good morning, Chris Ann..... some agents are very sloppy with their work....I think it's because they've not been trained properly..... newly licensed agents are herded into a real estate office and the training is not sufficient....some are not trained at all.... times have changed.

May 20, 2012 03:48 AM #8
Kathryn Maguire (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

So true!  More often than not, I have to remind the agent on the other side "oh by the way, you need to have your clients inial on page x"  Is "mostly ratified" like being "almost pregnant"?  It either is or it isn't.

May 20, 2012 05:12 AM #9
Alan Gross
PrimeLending, A PlainsCapital Company - Bethesda, MD
Loan Consultant

As the saying goes " The devils in the details" or maybe it could be said "If you don't have time to to it right the first time, when are you going to find the time to do it over?" I understand your frustration,

May 20, 2012 06:59 AM #10
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner | (503) 810-7192 Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% o... - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

Oh, it's one of the most annoying things.  The addendum sent from the listing agent with BLANKS at the top (no buyers name, no sellers names, no contract number, no addendum number).  WHY or WHY can't they complete a document they are sending out for signature?!?  GRRRRRRRRRRR

May 20, 2012 11:16 AM #11
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Your Guide to Joyful Colorado Living!

Ugh.  I hate it when I get contracts that are just so-so filled out.  But my bigger pet peeve is when the agent thinks he is an attorney and puts all kinds of garbage in the additional provisions.  Not a good idea.

May 20, 2012 11:38 AM #12
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Anna:  At least we can vent to other professionals who get it.

Jon:  It's a rare event when I get an offer filled in the way it's supposed to be.  And thanks for the suggestion.

Dick:  It's probably too time consuming for most who fly by the seat of their pants.

Nancy:  And that's why good agents take their time and are sticklers for getting all the I's dotted and T's crossed.

Joan:  Another good point.  The underwriters go over these things with a fine tooth comb.

May 20, 2012 12:12 PM #13
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Emily:  Missing an EMD is a MAJOR point of contention.

Barbara:  I'm sure training, and the lack of it, is a major component to the problem.

Kathyrn:  Funny.

Alan:  Getting things done right the first time is definitely a time saver, though it may not feel like it at the moment.

Carla:  I once got one with different sellers on it than the ones selling the paticular house they were wrriting on.  That's what you get when someone goes into their electronic forms to the last written offer to try a short cut.  Oops!

Belinda:  Best advice I ever got from an attorney was that if you add language, keep it simple and to the point.

May 20, 2012 12:15 PM #14
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Pasadena CA Real Estate 818.516.4393 Cell

Chris Ann -- mostly ratified --- seems a bit like "kinda pregnant" -- either it is or isn't.   The sloppy and haphazard execution of these important documents may become even more common(and more stressful and frustrating) as our markets continue to heat up.   Yikes!

May 20, 2012 01:04 PM #15
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Michael:  I'm really getting tired of sloppy work.  Feel like a school teacher when I'm trying to get an offer signed off by the opposing side of the transaction.

May 20, 2012 01:20 PM #16
Coral Gundlach
Century 21 Redwood Realty, Arlington Virginia - Arlington, VA

I just went through this too.  Had to send back to LA 3 times before it was "really" ratified.   Call me anal, but it's important.

May 21, 2012 05:27 PM #17
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Coral:  I know the feeling.  It's annoying.

May 22, 2012 08:52 AM #18
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