READ THE CONTRACT!
I get so many calls from clients and agents asking me questions. Sure, I can just give them the answer, and ultimately, I do, but I also ask, “have you read the contract?” When was the last time you signed something you didn’t read? Think about it. I bet it was more recent than you remember. Did you click, “I agree” to something online without reading it so you could move on to the next step? Did you sign a car rental contract or a form at the doctor’s office without reading it? We are all guilty of it. I wonder what sort of issues we could get into from some of the legal documents we sign that we don’t read. We don’t know!
Well, the legal ramifications of us not reading the 20 items before we click “I agree” to buy a song on iTunes is probably much less than they are on a purchase and sale agreement in real estate. When everything goes as planned and both parties do their part and the sale closes without incident, no problem. However, what happens when it doesn’t?
- Do you know how you can lose your earnest money? Are you sure?
- Do you know how you can keep a Buyer’s earnest money? Are you sure?
- Do you know how you can get out of a contract?
- Do you know how many days you have to apply for your loan?
- Did you know a Buyer needs to provide notice to the Seller that the appraisal has been ordered – and paid for?
- Do you know how long the parties have for inspections?
- What is a resolution period? When does it start? And how long is it?
- If you write multiple Counter Offers, do all the points on all the forms go into effect?
- Can I take the custom drapes that I had made for my Dining Room?
- What is a fixture?
- I can take the rose bush that was my mother’s that is planted in the backyard, right?
- I said I was getting a Conventional loan but changed my mind, does this matter?
- What are the things I have to pay for at closing?
- Wait a minute! I got to closing and there is a charge for Transfer Fee that I am having to pay for. What is that and why do I have to pay for it?
- What’s a performance deadline?
Most of these items are answered in the Purchase and Sale Agreement. If you read it, you will know the answer to it. A few are more detailed and are things that only good agents may know the answer to (rose bush). These are just some reasons to 1) read the contract and 2) hire a Realtor that you trust to help you navigate the process and help make sure you stay out of legal trouble.
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur babies, Tyler and Livvie, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.