I'd say that 9 out of 10 questions received by Lyon Real Estate's lawyer could be answered by reading the purchase contract. Yet, very few real estate agents have ever read the purchase contract. They know which blanks to fill in (most of them, anyway), but I'm betting 9 out of 10 agents couldn't recite much less explain pertinent paragraphs in the contract. Yet, they ask buyers to sign purchase contracts. Does that make sense to you?
The first thing I typically do when I meet with new buyers is hand them our 10-page C.A.R. California Residential Purchase Agreement and Joint Escrow Instructions. Well, right after signing an agency disclosure. And I write on the first page "Paragraph 14-b1," point it out to them in the contract and explain what it means. (That paragraph, along with Liquidated Damages, are the most important elements, from a buyer's perspective.) I hope they take the time to read the contract before we actually fill it out and sign it, and if they don't, it's of their own choosing.
A few months ago, an agent in Midtown Sacramento wanted to give me a counter offer stating the buyer was purchasing the property in "as is" condition. We discussed this issue at great length because the clause was unnecessary. It's already contained in the purchase contract. After the listing agent pointed out this paragraph to his seller, the seller backed off.
I think buyers should ask whether the agent has read the contract. If not, it might be smarter to hire a different agent. (Agents: why not take a a purchase contract to lunch with you today and read it?)
Photo: Big Stock Photo
The Short Sale, by Elizabeth Weintraub, coming from Archer Ellison in January 2009.