Jim Valentine: Understanding the offer form

Jim Valentine on Real Estate

Jim Valentine on Real Estate

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Most, but not all, residential agents in the Northern Nevada region belong to the National Association of Realtors and subscribe to the local Multiple Listing Service. Because of those affiliations they typically use the forms created by members of the local Realtor boards so everyone has the same form. The forms change from year to year as efforts are made to update them.

If you haven’t bought or sold a home for a while be aware that the forms may not say what they said when you last conducted a transaction. One such change is the “earnest money deposit” clause which now has a boilerplate condition that can be checked indicating that the EMD will be submitted by wire transfer. The language is still a bit sticky as it says the deposit is “evidenced,” but most buyers wait to submit the deposit after the offer is accepted so no deposit actually exists. Agents declare that it is not in their possession and will be deposited within a specified period of time, usually two business days.

The “close of escrow” clause says specifically that unless agreed upon in writing, the COE will not change from the originally agreed upon date. Look closely at the satisfaction of contingencies clause. It says, “If a contingency expires, it is waived.” If you are negotiating an item be sure to keep things in writing to keep them valid. The “loan application clause” says that the buyer will apply for the loan within five business days of acceptance, furnish pre-approval letter based on factual credit report, acceptable debt to income ratios and sufficient funds to perform, and authorize the ordering of appraiser. Failure to meet any of these items by buyer allows the seller to terminate the agreement within two business days.

“The loan contingency” clause grants permission for the lender to release loan status and conditions of approval to sellers and brokers. Keep the loan contingency in place until the close of escrow with the idea that if something goes awry with the lender and you’ve allowed this condition to expire prior to the close of escrow your EMD could be at risk. The boilerplate provides for a (Standard) Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance. For a nominal amount more you can get extended coverage with a phenomenal increase in what is covered. Highly recommended. The buyer usually pays for this increase so be careful how it is written in the offer.

Fixtures has been modernized so understand that now TV wall mounts and satellite dishes are automatically included. Also included are built-in spas and saunas, keyless entries and audio/video doorbell. Sometimes sellers what to keep their spa or video doorbell, so be careful to add such items in the excluding portion of the condition.

Seller’s Real Property Disclosure Form must include new defects that have been identified between the time the SRPD is executed and the close of escrow. If your buyer rescinds because of new information learned in an inspection report be sure to update your SRPD for the next buyer. Repairs are now not financially quantified. In other words, there is no dollar amount. The parties either agree or terminate.

There are more conditions of interest that may affect you in your transaction. Be sure to read the fine print when you make or receive an offer so you know for sure what it is you are agreeing to. Don’t hesitate to ask your agent for clarification. If something is particularly important to you and you aren’t sure you understand you should consult legal counsel. Agents can ballpark you, but we are not attorneys.

Regardless of what is discussed between you and your agent or between the parties during a showing, the items in the written contract will control the transaction. You may have a difficult time proving and enforcing a verbal statement that you relied on. Get it in writing and make sure it memorializes your intended agreement.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your Real Estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. dpwtigers@hotmail.com.


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