By Kay Wilson-Bolton
President, Ventura County Coastal Assn of REALTORS®
July 9, 2000
Some escrows seem to last forever. That feeling seems more prevalent when time frames within the contract are ignored and trouble begins.
The 10-page purchase contract offered by the California Association of REALTORS® was designed by practicing REALTORS® and real estate attorneys.
The goal in making any changes to the form is to simply and clarify. When parties to the contract ignore these elements, you can count on trouble.
The new form provides that buyers are to supply a prequalification letter from buyers’ lender within 5 days of acceptance of the offer. Ignoring that provision allows a seller to cancel the transaction.
Within 5 days of acceptance, sellers are to provide to buyers numerous disclosures. To not do so allows a buyer to cancel the escrow.
The contracts also contains a Buyers Advisory section which clearly states those items which buyers should investigate and verify at least 14 elements: zoning, square footage, boundaries, age of the home, to name a few. Buyers who choose to not do this investigation, do so against the advice of their REALTOR® and open up many opportunities for controversy and dispute.
If the sellers’ disclosures are handed over late in the transaction or buyers complete their investigations long after the contract deadlines, it is almost impossible to remedy the potential problems without the advice of a good real estate attorney or some cool heads sitting down and talking over the issue.
Practically speaking, by this time, tempers are usually on the warm side, plans to move are underway and likely many people are involved.
It can all be minimized if the parties adhere to the terms of the contract. After all, contracts were designed to help people remember their promises.
In your next transaction, make a timeline on your calendar for important dates. Your REALTOR® has a fiduciary duty to you to make sure your transaction is not jeopardized by a failure to meet deadlines.
The Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS® has a professional standards component, chaired by Faith Cosby of Cosby-Tipton Real Estate, that assists Association members and the public in dispute resolution. Only real estate agents who are REALTOR® members are subject to the code of ethics and the disciplines of the Association. Be sure your real estate representative is a REALTOR® .
Kay Wilson-Bolton is president of the Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS®. For more information, contact Kay Runnion, Interim CEO, Ventura County Coastal Assn of REALTORS® at 981.2100. Our website is http://www.vc-realtors.com