In a state, like Pennsylvania where Time and Date are of the Essence, how you count the days can be very important. And believe it or not, not everyone counts days the same.
As Realtors we are not meant to practice law, as we are not lawyers and are not licensed as such. But, recently many agents have been inserting clauses into the agreement of sale that change dates in the contract.
When I get a signed agreement of sale I use a spreadsheet to let all the parties know the deadlines and the dates to which I and my clients are working. This hopefully avoids any pitfalls where an agent counts differently to you as upfront, you are laying out the timeline of the deal for inspections, appraisals, replies to inspections, HOA document response and appraisals.
In the Pennsylvania agreement our days start counting from the time the last party signs the agreement, that is day ZERO, the next day is DAY 1 etc. There is no such thing as holidays and business days, all days are the same. However, as mentioned above some agents have been inserting or asking for buyers to insert, Any days which fall on a weekend or holiday shall be pushed to the next business day. This can suddenly extend an inspection period or appraisal period and the agreement becomes subjective rather than set.
Even without this clause being inserted you can have agents get confused, even experienced agents, especially those who do not realize that now that the forms we use are changed regularly as we all use online forms, and these can be changed at will to adapt to legal changes required in the contract by the state or the State Realtor Association.
For example, how we count our inspection days has changed. It used to be that a buyer could select a number of days to perform their inspections, make a response and then the seller had a set number of days to respond and finally the buyer once that response was received had another set number of days to accept, or withdraw.
This always led to confusion, so the agreement was changed, making each of these periods a set number of days. For example, Realtor A has written the agreement to give their buyer 10 days to perform inspections, and the seller to have 5 days to respond and the buyer then to have 2 days to decide what to do. This provides a total of 17 days total to finalize the inspection period.
However, we ran into an experienced Realtor after this change was made who insisted that as the response was actually made on day 8 that day 13 was now the final response date from the seller. But the phrasing in our agreement explicitly states this is not the case, that the seller has till day 15.
This experienced seller was asked to read the agreement carefully, which she refused to do as she had written many agreements over the years and knew what the agreement said. It was explained carefully to her that the agreement had recently changed, and her clients had signed an updated agreement of sale, allowing the seller to respond by day 15.
There was a good reason for this change, as many Realtors had advised our State Association that they often ended up going backwards and forwards with inspection requests and responses from the seller, and having a firm deadline was more helpful than the period keep getting shortened from when the response was initially given.
The agent eventually read the agreement and came to understand her mistake, but not till she had been very rude about our knowledge of the agreement and our deadlines. Luckily all worked out, and buyer and seller reached an agreement that both could live with and went to settlement on the day in the agreement.
Sometimes, you have to be gentle and make sure all parties, Realtors, clients and inspectors are on the same understanding of deadlines where they are important.
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