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How do you count the days?

By
Real Estate Agent with Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 PA License - AB067198

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.

Book

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.

Posted by

 

Nick Vandekar
Nick is a Tredyffrin Easttown Residential and Commercial REALTOR selling The Main Line, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties.

Giving you the confidence to make
the right decisions.

225 W Uwchlan Ave
Downingtown , PA 19335
Office 484-237-2055
SellingTheMainLine.com
Mobile: (610) 203-4543 [call or text me]
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Tredyffrin Easttown or along the Main Line, 
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Comments(15)

Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

Hello Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 when things like you described here happen,  I just "play dumb" and let the agent tell me how long they have been in the business and how much they know.  When they are finished I say, that is not my understanding. Let's see what the updated contract says. Not all agents will apologize.  Working together on a shared goal works best. 

Mar 20, 2023 03:49 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Nick - definitions matter.  

Mar 20, 2023 06:04 PM
Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Flower Mound, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 - Dates and Time are equally important here in TX too. When contract forms change regarding counting the number of days, especially where there are holidays involved, it is the agents responsibility to know contract law. Agents can't practice law in TX. Establishing good communication right up front with the other side of the transaction is a good way for both agents to work in their clients best interest.  

Thank you for sharing this important learning experience. 

Mar 20, 2023 07:50 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Well Nick I go by the contract and then if they do not respond I send them a Notice to Perform, Endre

Mar 20, 2023 09:47 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

In NY dates didn't matter ("on or about", blah blah). In MT, time is of the essence. We don't have to count, though. We put in the specific date that something is required to be done - and once the buy-sell (offer) is signed by all parties, we're off and running to meet those dates.

Mar 21, 2023 04:40 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Counting the days properly is important.  Recently I was in a transaction where the inspection period ended and the day after, the agent was messaging about finalizing their requests, haha.  Sadly, I had to inform them that their time had passed, haha.

Mar 21, 2023 05:35 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist I like that approach very much.

Michael Jacobs oh yes they do.

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP good communication helps a lot.

Endre Barath, Jr. we do not have a form like that, it is a clash on cooperation in the code of ethics and putting your clients interests first. If they do not meet the deadline it is waived.

 

Mar 21, 2023 06:56 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Kat Palmiotti yes, i had clients from NY and they found our system better, but when selling their NY home they never really knew what the settlement date was going to be till well along the path. I like inserting actual dates, that is very useful.

Brian England as I said to Endre, there is a clash between the code of ethics on cooperation and having a fiduciary relationship with your client and putting their interests first.

Mar 21, 2023 06:58 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is great information to share. I like your practice of having a deadline spread sheet to share.

Have a productive spring. If you like to visit DC, this weekend should be a good time to see the cherry blossoms.

Mar 22, 2023 08:37 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Roy Kelley my wife is recovering from surgery, so long drives are off the agenda for now, and short walks are a required rehab.

Mar 22, 2023 08:40 AM
Roy Kelley

My wife is also recovering from surgery...hip replacement. It has been a slow process.

Mar 22, 2023 09:21 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543

Roy Kelley as we get older recovery seems to take longer.

Mar 23, 2023 11:01 AM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

Oh gee Nick, to me the old and the new days of inspection is confusing in your area. Here, we usually have a home inspection 3 days after acceptable offer. If all goes well, we go directly to Contract. Done ~

Mar 22, 2023 01:46 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Nick here in California if you do not follow the contractual dates the seller has the right to send a notice to perform and if they do not then the seller has the right to cancel the transaction after three days,  no violation of the code of ethics, Endre

Mar 22, 2023 10:28 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Following the 4-corners of the contract prevents mistakes but an over-inflated ego always gets in the way of progress, Nick. Glad you were able to move forward and get it done!

Mar 23, 2023 09:12 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400 it used to be confusing, but now is much easier as the days are set and do not float.

Endre Barath, Jr. that is interesting, and seems a good idea.

Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! always easier to follow the contract. Our manager, whenever you go in with a question about a deal always says, "What does the contract say?"

Mar 23, 2023 11:03 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

In the DC metro area (DC and Montgomery County) our inspection time line is established in the contract and then each party has 3 days to respond - so our timeline is not set by a certain number of days -

Mar 29, 2023 02:19 PM