WHAT HAPPENS TO AN OFFER TO BUY REAL ESTATE AFTER THE BUYER SIGNS ON THE DOTTED LINE?
In the Naples / Bonita / Estero real estate market place, there are somewhere in the range of 6000 Realtors. In Downing-Frye Realty’s two offices, we have somewhere just south of 600 agents. In a booming market place such as 2005, this number grows substantially as individuals get their license and suddenly become experts. And then as the market changes direction, these same individuals fall by the wayside as they can’t afford to stay in the business. Currently (2nd quarter 2012), the market is turning upward from a ‘bottom’ and becoming extraordinarily active. This will most likely mean that in the coming months / year, more people will be taking the test to qualify as licensed Realtors.
Make sure that when you enter the real estate market place, you choose a Realtor who has been in the business for several years and has the experience necessary to know how to be of valuable assistance to you. It is not simply a matter of being able to work the MLS software. If you are reading this blog, you already know how to use the MLS system because you have been experimenting most likely with the system on-line through this website or one of my friendly competitors. It takes a lot of experience before a new Realtor is comfortable knowing the various pros and cons of the many communities in our market place as well as being knowledgeable when it comes to the mounds of forms which are necessary to complete a transaction. In this age of data processing, the real estate gods never learned the meaning of a paperless society!
When buyer’s come to the table, they need to be sure they know what’s happening to their offers once they have signed on the dotted line. It is a fair question to ask of whomever is helping you write the offer, whether it is your attorney or your estate agent. I can count on one hand the number of Buyers who ask the question as to what happens to the paperwork. How is it being delivered; does your Realtor know anything about the seller; have there been other offers?
I can tell you that the majority of buyers rarely ask for details. To whom is the offer being presented? How is it being delivered? Does your agent know anything about the seller; has the seller’s agent recently received offers? It happens more often that one might admit but there are some Realtors out there who will simply fax or email an offer without any other form of communication with the other Realtor. It has happened that an inexperienced agent might drop off a contract at an office without directing the offer to the listing agent. Little did the enthusiastic buyers realize that while they’ve mustered the courage and signed on the dotted line only to have their offer get rolled up and essentially tied to a balloon and released into the great blue yonder!!
If you’re a buyer who is making an offer to purchase real estate, here are a few more questions you need to ask:
Ask if your agent has spoken with the listing agent prior to preparing an offer to find out important information such as which closing dates could benefit the seller or to ask for property disclosures. Property Disclosures? When I purchased my first house in the mid 60s, there were no disclosures and the contract formats typically protected only the seller. These days in SW Florida, the contract formats are written to protect both the buyer and seller equally and there are a ton of disclosures particularly if that property is within a gated community. You did review the disclosures first, right? Good, that means you signed them and send them back with the offer.
Get a copy of your contract and a list of important time frames, response times for both parties involved in the contract, escrow deposit dates and home inspection deadlines.
Ask for some sort of acknowledgement from your real estate agent that the offer was actually presented and is now in the hands of the seller, the seller’s real estate agent or their legal counsel for due consideration. Whether it’s simply an acknowledgement of a conversation about the contract or an email response receipt to make sure the seller’s side knows you’ve placed an offer.
What happens to an offer after signing it? It’s a fair question to ask of whomever is helping you write the offer, whether it’s your attorney or your real estate agent. If your attorney is involved they’re generally concerned with making sure you’re legally protected. They’ll also track specific time frames after the contract is executed and advise you of action items required on your part that involve inspections, applying for mortgages, etc.
If nobody knew the offer was coming, whether it’s via email, fax or pony express, valuable time is tick, tick, ticking away. This is where sellers really learn to really appreciate that 24-hour response time they’ve been given. They especially enjoy it when they live in a different time zone or on a different continent or if there are multiple parties involved who need to be consulted before an agreement or counter offer can be made.
Instruct your agent to ask to be notified immediately if your offer becomes involved a multiple offer situation.
The key here is for you to make sure you are working with an experienced Realtor and not a newbie!! A good Realtor is not an order-taker.