Don’t Trouble Me with the Details . . . I expect everything to go well
As 2016 comes to a close and I reflect on the reasons for various real estate transactions going into an adversarial mode, a couple of trends stand out:
- Real Estate Closings, despite centuries of experience and practice, can be complex monsters. . . and Dodd Frank and all previous attempts at consumer protection consistently fail to recapture the idyllic simplicity of days gone by. Not that we expect the handshake deals of yore, but standard contracts used by realtors with all required disclosures and addenda and inspection contingencies, etc., are well over 50 pages now. Quite a few of the closings that “got out of control” in 2016 and showed up at our doorstep were the result of realtors being so busy trying to keep up on “papering” the file that they didn’t take the time to communicate and draft documents with precision. It still takes two to Tango and the Tango is a very technical and demanding dance. (I do not know this from personal experience, but from observation.) One verbal misstep can lead to a tumble to the ground and even if no bones are broken, the closing may become a casualty. The bottom line is that even closings that start off friendly, can become contentious and sellers can be tempted to take better offers if buyers have delays or start asking too much after inspections are complete. We are in a rising price market and inventory is still low, so conflict is bound to arise. To avoid conflict, 2017 needs to be the year of precise communications!
- Most home sellers and most home buyers don’t want to wade into the swamp of agreements and disclosures and addenda or get involved in the need for verbal precision. They just EXPECT things to go well. “Hey – you’ve been doing this for how long? and these contracts have been around for how long? How could you let this happen.” By clicking on the BedBuffaloes link below you can see just one example of things that can happen. Termite inspectors, home inspectors, appraisers, and many other professionals in your closing all put on “blinders” and focus on a limited area of responsibility. To avoid disappointment, 2017 needs to be the year of realistic expectations.
- If you miss The Far Side as much as I do, consider hiring our firm to help with your real estate transactions in 2017. . . . before your closing comes off the rails! We can work with your realtor or with you in a “FSBO” to help you recognize areas in which your expectations may be setting you up for disappointment and to help you spot the gaps in the closing process that require precision to close. Lawyers spend three intense years learning to be Wordsmiths and to use the English language to protect our clients. And that is just to get out of lawschool and have the privilege to take the Bar Exam! It is a remarkable value to be able to hire an attorney to do a closing for very little more than you could end up paying a “lay closer”. AND you have access to the full range of legal expertise. Real estate closings do not happen in a legal vacuum. Contract law, constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law, trespass law, insurance law, all play a part! By letting your realtor or loan officer place your closing with a lay settlement agency, not only do you have a better chance of having things “get out of control”, but once they do, the law requires that you then be referred out to a lawyer and this can lead to double billings and further delays and heartaches. Gamble or start well, the choice is yours . . . is says so right in Section 8 of the many paged contract you don’t want to read!