"Seller's Choice" - Beware, these words could mean something you didn't expect

Real Estate Agent with BrokerInTrust Real Estate Cal BRE #01345507

Even in this "buyers market" I received multiple offers on one of my listings last week.  As I was reviewing the purchase agreements I couldn't believe how many agents are still writing in "sellers choice" for title, escrow, home warranty company and natural zone disclosure company. 

Did you know that if you write "sellers choice" for natural zone disclosure and the other agent doesn't pick a company in the counter offer, you'll end up with a company called Seller's Choice Disclosures?  That's right, there is actually a company called Seller's Choice Disclosure.  This is great if that is who you wanted, but not soCA Residential Purchase Agreement great if you didn't.  Also, if you just write NHD in the box then escrow will pick the company.  There is no company called NHD.  NHD are just the initials for Natural Hazard Disclosure.

The same goes for escrow, title and home warranty company.  I Googled "sellers choice escrow" and came up with 65,400 results.  I didn't see any escrow companies in CA with this name, but why take a chance?  Just write what you want in the blank so there is no confusion.

And this brings me to another very important point regarding preparing a purchase agreement for a buyer.  It's important to always specify who you want for NHD, home warranty, title and escrow companies.  Many times the listing agent won't have a preference and you'll get the company that you want. 

I've learned in negotiations that you usually have to give up something to get something.  If you don't specify these items initially, then you can't even use them in your negotiations.  To me it's important to start your negotiations from a position of power and this means preparing a well thought out purchase agreement with all of the blanks filled in. 

If you are purchasing a home in Calabasas CA and you'd like your California Residential Purchase Agreement prepared and negotiated by a professional who understands the nuances of this very important contract please call Tracey Thomas at (818) 652-2937.


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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices
It is interesting how different things are in different states. I am a broker, and for the most part I do not even understand what you are talking about
Jan 21, 2008 03:32 PM #1
Antoinette Gabriel
Remax Flagship - Windsor, CT
I feel the same way. 
Jan 21, 2008 03:35 PM #2
Tracey Thomas
BrokerInTrust Real Estate - Calabasas, CA
CA Real Estate Broker
Hi Jon, I know what you mean, I'm licensed in New York too and there you have attorney's prepare the contract so an agent in NY wouldn't have a clue what I'm talking about either.  But here in CA the agent prepares the contract and there are blanks to fill in.  If the agent doesn't fill in the blank properly or if the agent puts in the wrong thing, it could have significant ramifications on the transaction.
Jan 21, 2008 03:36 PM #3
Tracey Thomas
BrokerInTrust Real Estate - Calabasas, CA
CA Real Estate Broker
Hi Antoinette, thanks for stopping by, it's a State thing, but very important.
Jan 21, 2008 03:39 PM #4
Sandi Bauman
Chico Homes Real Estate - Chico, CA
Chico CA Realtor
Very important, Tracy!   BTW....  LOVE your visual!  It's great!
Jan 21, 2008 04:11 PM #5
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate
Hi Tracey - Our team has always told agents to put a specific name in those fields, and also never let a deal fall apart if the other party doesn't agree. Pretty savvy move for a company to choose "Seller's Choice" as their name; I wonder how much 'accidental' business they get.
Jan 21, 2008 04:22 PM #6
Tracey Thomas
BrokerInTrust Real Estate - Calabasas, CA
CA Real Estate Broker

Hi Sandi, I learned how to do that "visual" with iLife 08 from Jeff Turner.  I love AR because I'm always picking up some new and very cool tidbit of information.

Hi John, I train everyone to fill in all the blanks too, but I just couldn't believe the contracts I got this week, full of holes and just a general mess.  Glad to get lots of offers though, so not really a major complaint, more just a heads up!

Jan 21, 2008 04:27 PM #7
Dan Forbes
Bradenton, FL
Tracey, You mean the words we write actually have meaning. (LOL).  Sloppy work will get you in trouble every time.  I can see you give great attention to detail.  A mark of success.
Jan 21, 2008 09:41 PM #8
Lori Gilmore
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Joliet, IL
Realtor - Will County Illinois
Tracey -- In Illinois the agent fills out the contract, though title company is not a component of what we delineate. . . It amazes me how many agents do not fill out the contract properly.   I had one agent who submitted a contract to me with earnest money "TBD", no financing contingency date and the wrong riders attached.  Where are these people coming from and how do they find their way out of the house in the morning?!?!??
Jan 22, 2008 05:42 AM #9
Sandra Carlisle (Ayers)
Berkshire Hathaway California Properties - Newport Beach, CA
Real Estate Marketing & Sales

That's just scary.  Who wouldn't want to choose the companies involved?  It's your buyer's money.  I have a feeling that those agents will be the ones NOT AROUND in 2009. 


Jan 22, 2008 12:30 PM #10
Irina Netchaev
Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc. - Pasadena, CA
Pasadena CA Real Estate
Tracey, you are soooo right!  It's amazing how many buyer's agents leave these critical fields blank.  Excellent points!!!
Jan 22, 2008 02:14 PM #11
Elaine Hanson
Partners Trust Real Estate - Topanga, CA
REALTOR - Topanga, CA Real Estate Agent
Tracey, you've made a great point.  The California Residential Purchase Agreement is an incredibly detailed document that can really screw you up if it's not completed properly.  I try to take every class I can on how to read and interpret it.  I just had a really good one at the CAR convention given by Gov Hutchinson.  You've reminded me to pull out my notes and study again.
Jan 24, 2008 08:39 AM #12
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services
Tracey- It is amazing how we do not even have many of these terms in Florida. We don't even have forms that look like that here. We are very customary here. In our county seller chooses the title company. Here title and escrow are the same company unless the broker holds the escrow. We as brokers would never hold escrow but many brokers do here. Katerina
Jan 25, 2008 12:09 PM #13
Chuck Piro
Disclosure Source - San Diego, CA

Point well made Tracy!!  I speak to this issue in every one of my presentations.  Who is guilty of doing this?  Buyers agents!  That's who!  Yet, who benefits from, say, a NHD report?  The buyer! 

Hey everybody......Protect your clients!  Don't ever use these phrases....Seller's Choice and/or Any Reliable!! 

By the way.....Great choice of NHD company in your example, if I say so myself.

Nov 24, 2009 05:22 PM #14
Johnnie Angel Ramirez

Thank you so much. The information is super helpful.

Mar 29, 2018 01:10 PM #15
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Tracey Thomas

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