Lesson #1 in Real Estate: Learn How to Fill Out a Contract

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Rulnick Realty, Inc.

real estate contract 

I am primarily a listing agent in the Destin Florida market.  In a normal week, I receive several offers on my properties all around the Emerald Coast.  How many of these contracts are filled out correctly?   Nary a one.  Today I received an offer on a home in Niceville Florida.  It was hard to even figure out what the offer was. First, the buyer's agent wrote the purchase price on the contract line labeled "deposit".  She left the "purchase price" line blank. Next she checked off  "cash with no financing".   Next to that she checked "VA financing".  She wrote in a closing date of March 31, about three weeks from now, but allowed the short sale lender 90 days to approved the contract.  Are you starting to see something amiss here?

To top it off, she included her own comparative market analysis to justify her buyer's price.  As if I would forward her price opinion to my seller, to supercede the one I did for them.  What was she thinking?

I emailed the agent back, asking:

1. Is the earnest money "deposit" of $200,000 "really" the offer amount?

2. Are the buyers paying "cash" or doing "VA financing", as you checked both?

3. Do the buyer expect to close in three weeks, but allow the lender three months to make the decision? 

I have not nit-picked agents' contracts too much in the past, but this year, I am done with being so nice. Now is the prime time to elevate the profession of selling real estate.  Fill out your contracts correctly -- or expect a lot of cross-outs and initials until you get it right.

It's Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, CRP, CRS, GRI, ABR     Rulnick Realty, Inc.

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Call Wendy Rulnick, Destin real estate agent, to list and sell your home or condo or help you buy a home or rental property on the Emerald Coast of Florida in Walton, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa County-  Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Crestview, Rosemary Beach, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field.   Wendy is a short sale and pre-foreclosure specialist and can help you sell or buy a short sale property in and around Destin Florida and the Emerald Coast.

All Rights Reserved. *Lesson #1 in Real Estate:  Learn How to Fill Out a Contract * Contact Wendy Rulnick regarding Destin Florida real estate and vicinity. Copyright © 2009 by Wendy Rulnick.

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Wendy Rulnick, Broker/Owner Rulnick Realty, Inc.

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Wendy Rulnick is the marketing choice for sellers on the Emerald Coast who want to list and get their homes and condos sold in Destin, Sandestin, Bluewater Bay, Santa Rosa Beach, 30-A, Watercolor, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Seacrest Beach, Kelly Plantation, Regatta Bay, Destiny and more.

Rulnick Realty



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Michael A. Caruso
Surterre Properties - Laguna Niguel, CA

I'm really sorry to hear you have to go thru that...Does your AOR offer classes in the Residential Purchase Contract?  Do local brokers teach their agents this stuff?

Mar 09, 2009 11:56 AM #1
Tim and Pam Cash
Crye-Leike (Sango) - Clarksville, TN
Real Estate Professionals - Clarksville TN

Wendy, while filling out listing and offers can be challenging for those who have not done many - there are always people who will look over them in your office and many times if you simply look over them you will catch many obvious mistakes.  Sounds like this was not the case here.

Mar 09, 2009 11:57 AM #2
Jessica Wallace
Coldwell Banker - Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz Realtor (831) 419-9345

Wow that is pretty bad!  Filling out a contract incorrectly can really cost your clients and you too!  Just one little box left unchecked can make a huge difference, it helps to get an experienced pair of eyes to review.

Mar 09, 2009 12:00 PM #3
Brian Brumpton
Keller Williams Boise - Boise, ID
Boise Idaho Real Estate


We're fortunate enough to have free classes on structuring contracts.  I like to drop in from time to time just to keep on my game.

Mar 09, 2009 12:01 PM #4
Emmaniece Gordon
Dekka Realty - Fort Meade, MD
PSC, CDPE, Realtors, Local Real Estate Expert, Mar

Thanks for your comments, I agree that more agents should take the time to learn the contract before they start writing offers and if they are new, they should at least have a mentor.

Mar 09, 2009 12:01 PM #5
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
Destin FL Real Estate

Michael - We definitely have classes here.  When I hire a new agent, I review their contracts with them and then slice and dice!

Tim and Pam - That's is so true, two heads are better than one!  Or four eyes!

Jessica - Yes, the legal ramifications....

Mar 09, 2009 12:03 PM #6
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
Destin FL Real Estate

Brian - We can all learn and should strive to...

Emmaniece - TOTALLY!

Mar 09, 2009 12:04 PM #7
Wendy Svoboda
Reno, NV

Hi Wendy....nice to see you on Twitter! Greetings from another Wendy in Reno! Great blog! Best to you in 2009!


Wendy Svoboda



Mar 09, 2009 12:06 PM #8
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Evening Wendy,  I still working on getting my contract skills where I want them but your example makes me look pretty good.

Mar 09, 2009 12:17 PM #9
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
Destin FL Real Estate

Wendy - Back at ya!!

Bill - You are too funny!

Mar 09, 2009 12:19 PM #10
Judy Jennings
The Green Company - Ashland, MA
Broker - The Lanterns at Warren Woods - Ashland MA

Hmmm... this is not a good sign.  You would think that the totally incompetent agents would have dropped off the radar by now in this tough market.  Evidently, that is not true and this is what is not only competing with more capable agents, but it continues to give the profession a bad name.  Make them earn it Wendy.

Mar 09, 2009 01:04 PM #11
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Saint Petersburg, FL

Wendy - in the MLS realtor comments and on our property websites, we have a link to our Pre-Offer Package. One component of this is a partially filled out contract: it includes the proper legal description, the proper sellers names, the proper personal property that is included/excluded  -  easy to fill in the offer price and closing date.

Mar 09, 2009 01:07 PM #12
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
Destin FL Real Estate

Judy - Thank you - I am, and  I will.

Sharon - That is incredible!! It has come down to this - you have to fill out the contract for them!  How creative of you...!

Mar 09, 2009 02:27 PM #13
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker


Glad to know the lack of contract expertise exist in places outside of Texas.

Mar 09, 2009 10:26 PM #14
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
Destin FL Real Estate

Richard - I'm glad it's not just Florida!

Mar 10, 2009 12:22 AM #15
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

I haven't seen one that bad in a long time, but it does happen.  Hope that agent finds a mentor in her office who provide the training she obviously needs.

Mar 10, 2009 05:09 AM #16
Renee Kovacs
Renee A. Kovacs NSA Services - Northville, MI

If I may, if I might ....

If you're the selling agent, PLEASE VERIFY the potential buyer's name as it is shown on their ID, and print it very clearly below their signatures.  However they chose to sign, make sure their ID will back it up.  The contract is the starting point of so many headaches for us on the closing end!

Many times the title agent just drafts the deed & issues a commitment from what appears on the contract without verifying the name variant or spelling.  The lenders then sometimes follow that lead, and go with what the commitment says.

Then we end up at close with ID showing "James Q. Public" and docs saying "Jack Publik, Jr." and the headache begins...

Mar 14, 2009 11:57 PM #17
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
Destin FL Real Estate

Renee - Good point.  We also include a "legibility" contract when sending to the title agent if it's a fax of a fax of a fax.

Mar 15, 2009 02:49 AM #18
Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
Your Realtor Down the Shore!

Boy have you found one of my pet peeves!  I can't believe that agent got signatures on the contract...If she actually reviewed the contract with her buyers, why didn't somebody catch this??  And you're absolutely right, how does this make us look like professionals!!

Mar 16, 2009 11:53 PM #19
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
Destin FL Real Estate

Laura - Since then I've received two more contracts, with blanks where financing amount goes.  And these are experienced agents!

Mar 17, 2009 02:03 AM #20
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