It's been quite a few years since I was given a seat assignment for a class, and a #2 pencil for the exam. But so it was as 75 of my East Bay colleagues and I filled the Berkeley Assoc. of REALTORS® conference room to be lead through the details of the new RPA which will debut on April 20th. This Berkeley class was the first in the State to be offered, and we were fortunate to have Gov Hutchinson, Assistant General Counsel for CAR, as our instructor.
Some of the changes are primarily changes in format, though some of those will be quite helpful:
- Elimination of the city in which the contract is written
- The Agency section has been moved up to the first page
- Separation of the buyer's and seller's signatures: they're no longer stacked - YAY!
Other changes are much more signficant:
The default for handling of the initial deposit is now that the "Buyer shall deliver deposit directly to Escrow Holder within 3 business days. Agents have no need to be involved with cheques!
Perhaps the largest change that ripples through several items within the contract involves the definition of a day. Once in contract, all deadlines that would normally fall on a weekend or holiday will be extended to Monday (or Tuesday if Monday is a holiday). When a notice is given to buyer to perform, buyers will now have two days, not 24 hours, to perform.
There's a new clause under Finance Terms, "K. Buyer Stated Financing," which specifies that if the buyer chooses to pursue financing terms other than those specified in the contract, the Seller has no obligation to accept that change. It states that the buyer is also obligated to pursue the type of financing specified in the contract, and failure to secure the alternate financing does not "excuse buyer from the obligation to purchase the property."
A new line under "Other Costs" has been added for private transfer taxes, such as are charged by many large new developments.
A small item, but one that is a welcome clarification, is under Items included in Purchase Price. Two check boxes have been added under existing items to specificy if the stove(s) and refrigerator(s) are included in the sale. The only time I ever contributed money to close an escrow was when there was a dispute over whether a refrigerator, with a custom paneling finish that matched the rest of the kitchen, was included or not. I had indicated "as per MLS terms." I learned the hard way as a newer agent that that was not adequately specific, even though logic dictated that the sellers would leave the custom fridge. One only needs to make that mistake once!
In addition to CEU credit, the course provided a bound Guide to the Calif. RPA and related forms, which is actually quite a handy guide. I'd urge my California colleagues to avail themselves of one of these courses if offered near you. The questions that arose were interesting, and the discussion addressed some of the nuances of how we do business in our area. This is a great benefit provided by our state association, and Gov is always an informed, and entertaining fellow.