I regularly am asked why the need to have a real estate agent representing a seller or buyer with offer on-line submission. My response is always “you don’t know what you don’t know.”
The subject of this post dovetails into our last discussion concerning buyers submitting offers online, directly to the listing brokerage. However, who has the buyer consulted for price and terms offering? Will buyers know what terms can and should be negotiated? Make no mistake a computer screen created by the listing brokerage is going to favor the seller.
With a purchase this large I don’t want buyers finding themselves in the precarious buyer beware situation—caveat emptor.
Don’t lose sight of the fact, regardless of all the automation, principles (buyers and sellers) are entering into a legally binding contract. Even today that idea gets lost. Agents many a time fail to educate their clients to this fact. I have heard buyers and sellers say “if the other party doesn’t like it I’ll just cancel the contract.”
You can’t just cancel a contract; there has to be agreement by both sides. A unilateral decision can result in a lawsuit. You need a professional to explain the procedure.
When I first started as a licensee, I took for granite that a buyer could not force a seller to sell their home. After all, if the seller didn’t sign over the deed, there is no transfer of property. I have since realized that yes a buyer can. With a well-versed lawyer at the buyer’s side, the courts can force the sale. On the other hand, if the buyer does not perform the seller can cancel the contract without agreement from the buyer. The assumption is, in those cases, the buyers agree to the cancellation.
Do you understand why I am ranting? Yes, you can, dare I say it, purchase a home online. Auction houses have allowed online offers for quite a while, with or without the benefit of representation by the buyer. However, in these cases, the seller usually is an unemotional financial institution. They communicate to the buyers upfront in bold letters, BUYER BEWARE, which is why many sell at below market pricing.
Brokerages that solicit on-line offers need buyers dealing with the brokerage directly from a financial/profit perspective. Discounting listing agreements will not sustain the business; they also need the co-operative broker’s commission. A discussion of this is found here. Double-ending a transaction discussion is here.
When on-line offer technology becomes commonplace, and it will, at a minimum hire a professional to explain the contract and procedures. The licensee will be your best friend during this small slice, high profile, part of your life.