Sign Here; Press Down Hard. There's Six Copies.
I sat down the other day with a new seller and we began gathering relevant listing information from her personal records. She turned a page and there it was; the original purchase contract on her Carrboro home, bought in 1987. What a trip down memory lane!
I started selling North Carolina real estate back in 1980. I've told many a rookie agent how we used to fill out a one page Offer To Purchase (with the Standard Provisions listed on the back) and that was that. Everybody signed it, the buyer took it to the bank, we waited for the loan to be approved and went to closing. The look on the face of a new agent, who is still trying to get a handle on the current 8 page North Carolina Offer To Purchase and Contract plus all the attendant disclaimers and disclosures, is priceless. (Let the tree killing begin....)
Of course my nostalgic recollection of this bit of our professional history fails to take into account that there was no such thing as Buyer Agency. And while the contract did address repairs and give both parties options to terminate, the buyer had to hire an HVAC guy, a plumber, an electrician and a roofer to get what today's Buyer gets from a certified Home Inspector. Most buyers didn't bother. It was Caveat Emptor at its finest. Also the number of earnest money disputes, which when they occurred (generally because somebody changed their mind), could really mess up the day for the broker in charge. But that was pretty much it.
I'm not saying easier was better. I certainly feel like we bring much needed expertise and professionalism to the process today. But dang, it sure was nice when you knew a good day's work ended with "Sign here: press down hard. There's six copies."