Can you put that in writing?
This question was recently posed to me…when is a verbal offer ok? My answer…. Never. Unfortunately, gone are the days of a short conversation and a hand shake to bind two parties in an agreement. There is a time and place for oral agreements but in real estate transactions in current times it is more important than ever to see offers in writing.
Offers to purchase real estate, letters of intent, purchase and sales agreements and binders are all methods of presenting a written description of a buyer’s intent and structure of a transaction. Although we use all of these forms of making an offer in different geographical areas and for different purposes, they are all in written form.
I have seen one too many deals go sour when expectations are not met. More often than not this happens when expectations are not concrete or are verbal, assumptions or hopes. Putting what you expect and what you are expecting the other party to do in writing alleviates misunderstanding. Furthermore, when you start to think about all the complex situations in a contract that need to be addressed you often realize that your initial thoughts and verbal offers are not nearly as complete as they need to be.
Being able to outline things like details and perforance dates of a mortgage, down payments, earnest money, inspections, permits, remedies, title issues and other contingencies are extremely important. These all become even more important when a seller is faced with multiple offers. To be able to fairly and thoroughly evaluate more than one offer a seller needs to see all of the terms and conditions spelled out in black and white.
If you have questions or concerns about written offers feel free to call me. If you are selling real property, I urge you to always insist on seeing any offers in writing. Protect your interest by being represented by a well qualified Broker and don’t be afraid to seek legal advice before signing any documents. Your real estate broker will always have names of well qualified lawyers to help you continue to protect your investment…. Don’t be afraid to say “Can you put that in writing?”