Ode to Buyers – a promise kept
The merriment of the season is over, presents torn open, and the decorations are still up. That will have to wait as I promised the write an Ode to Buyers and by George, I aim to get it accomplished. Great way to start the new year, keeping a promise.
Listen up all you buyers in the market to purchase a home, primarily a previously lived-in home, what is called a resale. You have to get rid of preconceived ideas; listen to the professional you hired, and put yourself in the shoes of the seller. Home purchasing is not a winner-take-all contest. It is the consumate barter transaction. The seller has a house, you have access to cash, and you swap.
Get it in writing
The first notion to eliminate from your mindset is that the seller does not have to do anything unless agreed to in writing. Only then does the buyer have legal standing. Do not assume. One example that comes up many times is regarding the cleanliness of the home.
The seller does not have to have the property professionally cleaned. If that is your wish, then include it with your offer. Even sellers of million dollar homes won’t have the property professionally cleaned. I just went through that. Fortunately, the listing agent stepped up and hired someone at the last moment, even after the cleaning I had to clean out the garage of dirt and cobwebs before the buyers moved into the home.
You are not the first home owners, expect defects
You are not purchasing a new home. It will have some warts, count on it. If you don’t believe you can handle the consequences of deferred maintenance by the sellers then do yourself a favor and focus your search on a new home, the builder will repair defects even after the close.
Make sure you thoroughly understand the seller’s obligation regarding repairs. Once you remove the inspection contingency, it is difficult to go back to the seller for additional items, doing so could be deal-busting. After the deal closes, a seller will tell you to pound sand. At that point, your alternative is to talk to a real estate lawyer.
No early move-ins
Please do not put the sellers in a awkward situation asking to move stuff into the home prior to closing. Many issues to consider. You can find those here.
When can you possess the home?
You don’t technically take possession until 6:00pm day of deed recordation. For some reason, buyers have this belief that the sellers are supposed to be moved out before the final walkthru; not true. Move out date can be negotiated, but standard language states possession takes place at 6:00 pm day or recordation.
I understand what a pain it is for buyers to do a final walkthru verifying that the home looks the same as the day of offer submission, plus repairs with boxes stacked to the ceiling in every room. Want to see the garage, forget about it. Accept standard language or negotiate upfront.
Your agent is not a lawyer or ruler of the transaction
Your agent is not a lawyer, they perform risk management. Hopefully, you are tethered, after the close of escrow, to your agent because of their exceptional service. Once the transaction records then the agency responsibilities are terminated. They are not your servant, don’t abuse the relationship.
Most agents will continue to assist in ways possible, especially if they hope to receive referrals from you. But their conduit to the sellers is the listing agent, whose agency responsibilities have terminated as well. You can now see the situation for what is the reality. Your agent can’t force a principle or another agent to perform. Remember brokers and agents are not a principle of the contract, only the buyer, and seller. One last word, enforcement in real estate usually falls under the legal umbrella.
Why can’t the buyer and sellers talk to each other?
My suggestion, if you have an inkling that questions will arise after closing concerning the home, try to get the seller’s contact info. After all they are the folks with the possible answers. Some sellers will not comply with the exchange of information, their prerogative.
If you don’t mind, I would like to take a short time for an editorial. If your agent follows your instructions and the outcome is not favorable, do not blame the agent. They can’t force a seller to accept anything. Seller’s and buyer’s definitions of what is fair are usually different.
Buyer’s agents work their butt’s off. Don’t believe me, then why is it the leaders of all these real estate teams only deal with the sellers and refer buyers to other agents on their team? The answer, too time-consuming from searching to closing.
What should be your take-aways
The take-a-ways I hope you glean from the above is 1) negotiate expectations upfront, 2) your representative can only control their actions; no enforcement authority and 3) you are one of the principles of the contract, not your broker. Your broker has no legal standing except that defined in the agency agreement.