Is a contract NOT a contract when it is signed by both buyer and seller? Again and again, buyers are walking from short sale offers with no penalty, sometimes encouraged by their selling agents. Here are two emails below from agents in the Destin- Navarre Florida area whose buyers simply backed out of short sale offers after three months of negotiations:
"Yes it is a long time and they do understand the contract but they are not obligated to the contract until the bank responds."
"It was contingent upon the banks acceptance of the offer and the bank did not accept the offer yet. We did not have a contract only an offer. I do not see the need of a letter or a release of contract since there was no contract."
My question to these, and other agents, is, if it is not a contract, what is it? Of course, it is a contract. Contracts have contingencies all the time that require action by third-parties. For example, the buyer's lender must make a decision on the borrower's ability and the value of the home. The buyer's home inspector will provide data on the home's condition. The title agent will determine if there is marketable title. These contingencies do not negate the fact that there is a contract. But any one of these factors can initiate a termination of the "contract".
What steps can listing agents take to ensure their seller is protected from "escape artist" buyers?
1. Require buyer contingencies to be fulfilled without waiting for lender approval, such as home inspection and mortgage application.
2. Require an earnest money deposit (called escrow in some states) upon acceptance by the seller, not upon lender approval.
3. In return for buyer's forthright investment in the contract, place the property "under deposit" in the MLS system.
Until selling agents educate their buyers about the gravity of being in a contract when buying a home, we will continue to see short sale contracts fall apart.
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, CRP, CRS, GRI, ABR Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-ITS-WNDY (1-877-487-9639) or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Wendy Rulnick specializes in real estate sales, short sales, traditional sales on Emerald Coast of Florida: Destin Florida real estate, Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Dune Allen, Blue Mountain Beach, Freeport, Rosemary Beach, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field. Wendy Rulnick, Broker and Realtor, has been selling real estate for almost 20 years. She has won numerous awards, including the coveted ADDY for advertising design. An expert marketer of real estate listings, she negotiates successfully to her dients' advantage. She is supported by a team of top buyer specialists. She lists and sells homes, condos and townhomes.
All Rights Reserved. *When is a Contract NOT a Contract?* Contact Wendy Rulnick regarding Destin Florida real estate and vicinity. Copyright © 2008 by Wendy Rulnick.
This site, Wendy Rulnick or Rulnick Realty, Inc. is not providing legal or tax advice. The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only. It is recommended that sellers considering a short sale should consult an independent legal and tax advisor for more informationSubscribe in a reader