It pops up everywhere you go. It is where disclaimers, liability waivers and insurance rate protectors put all their "told you so" information so that you cannot claim later on that you did not know. You see when you litigate something, you find out what works and what doesn't. That's how a one page agreement becomes a 20 page small print agreement
IS THIS YOUR SIGNATURE
While we are on the subject of litigation, the dreaded question of questions is going to be brought up and it is this: Is that your signature on this page? Are those your initials? All this does is establish that you signed the document and read it through. Your scribble says you agreed and read this
I SIGNED IT BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN
However, understanding it all is where the courts give leeway. While the law remains the same, different judges interpret it differently. So while you may admit that you signed this 20 pager, you can still claim you didn't understand what you were signing and all that goes with that. But don't bet the farm that you will prevail
I DIDN'T DRAFT THIS
As Real Estate agents, we cannot make people understand anything. We counsel, answer questions, discuss things, refer to higher authorities and care about the outcome. We don't draft the agreements themselves. If you are borrowing money, then lenders have their rules and requirements too. Attorneys come in handy if doubt/fear plagues you.
WHAT IS BEHIND IT ALL
The spirit of the agreement is important. I remember when I went to buy my first home and was naive, innocent and knew nothing. Me and my wife...just a couple kids trying to start a family and live the American dream. My bank says no problem on loaning you money. That was easy enough. So far so good...
MY HUNNY BUNNY
We get to the 20 page loan docs part and I go deer in the headlights. My wife is floating on a cloud, imagining her new nest and the potentials. I am in agony and everyone is looking at me. Whats wrong says my hunny bunny? I said, I don't what I am signing here and I knew if we had all day and someone explained, I still would not know
She knew me and spoke to me from her heart. Her questions helped free me. Do we need a place to live? Yes sez I. Wherever we go, wont we find a way to pay for it? Yes, sez I. If we make our payments isn't that all we need to know? Yes, sez I. Then, a strange thing happened. My hand moved toward the signature lines and scribbled.
OF COURSE I WILL PAY YOU BACK
I trusted my wife. I trusted common sense and I knew as long as I kept to the purpose of the whole thing, all would go well. What was the purpose? To pay back the loan a complete stranger made to me to help me get ahead in life. When you put it in those terms, whats not to understand?
This doesn't need to be expanded on yet it is vital to law and order as well as privacy and personal rights. In the majority of cases they all are self-evident and remain in your face and easy to obey with little exception. Here are some examples:
1. No Smoking Beware of dog No left turn
2. No trespassing Recycle Railroad crossing
3. Keep off the lawn Do not enter No loitering
4. Keep out Violators will be prosecuted
5. Line forms here Have I.D. ready
6. Refunds Stop Life guard on duty
The above are self-explanatory, acceptable and clear. Many don't see them or have one track minds which result in a showdown of a sort if challenged. It is at that time people learn why the sign exists. Large print works but that small print needs work...