Where’s the evidence? Does limiting the window of opportunity benefit the Seller?

The property was listed on the MLS on Wednesday. Showings were restricted to no sooner than the open house on Sunday at noon.  In the remarks, we are told Offers will be presented to the Seller on Tuesday at 10:00 AM.  What’s the objective?

If the objective is to give the listing firm a leg up on the competition to attract a buyer and earn more money, data exists to show this does or does not work. (I hope the data proves this is not the result.) If the objective is to give buyers a fair opportunity to get their offer considered, or if the objective is to give the sellers more offers to consider, the empirical evidence has not been gathered.

Retail business with thousands, and thousands of potential buyers for a limited product can prove the limited window of buying opportunity increases demand and subsequently price. (Thing Black Friday) The data base is big enough and the evidence is solid for comparison to sales with or without the limitations. That’s not true for real estate. Even in a Seller’s market like we just experienced we probably can not ( I doubt we have tried) accurately measure the effect on price or demand.

The real estate industry works in part because it has the means to expose individual properties to a mass market of buyers…many who are qualified, motivated, and NOT in the community.  A limited window of opportunity may corral a few folks who are nearby at that moment. Those who are not nearby are eliminated; they are effectively blocked from the property.

If this method of squeezing the market to a tiny window of a few hours of time is more advantageous to the Seller and not detrimental to the marketplace, where’s the evidence?

What Do We Want to Accomplish?

 

Seth Godin’s Blog

“Will the seller take a cash offer with no contingencies?”

Offers to Purchase are handshakes. You own this property, and I want to own it. I’ll give you $X and you give me the Deed on this date. The details could be left out if no one ever had a reservation. The details are the exit doors. Our job is to attempt to make clear what everyone intends and expects.

Dishonorable people intent on not keeping a promise will not be impeded by language of a contract.  Seth Godin notes that our future depends on good agreements with good people. What do we want to accomplish? We want to work with good people. The good contracts keep us in business so the good people can benefit from our good work.

Inspection Contingency: Two ambiguous deficiencies you want to avoid

Wisconsin Residential Offer to Purchase page 9 of 9, Inspection Contingency

Deficiency number 1. NOT TESTING.  Line 410 reads: “This contingency only authorizes inspection, not testing…”. To add clarity, lines 395-409 have the definition of the terms inspect and test.  You can inspect, but you shall not test.   It’s agreed, testing can not be done without a specific contingency and the inspection contingency is specifically not for testing.  Or, is it? At least one firm in Madison has an addendum with an additional contingency altering the inspection contingency to apparently permit testing.

“Addition to Home Inspection Contingency: It is understood that if the buyers’ home inspector recommends that additional inspections/test be completed, Seller agrees to that portion of the inspection being extended for ____days…”.  I put the problematic words in bold.  If I’m interpreting this correctly, if a home inspector recommends a radon, mold, lead paint, water, or air quality test be done, the contingency is extended.  I don’t know if the parties are agreeing to permit the test, or just extend the contingency satisfaction deadline.

Practice Tip:  Do not include any reference to testing under the Inspection Contingency. Use a specific testing contingency with stated acceptable levels.

Deficiency number 2, NOT ENTIRE PREMISES. line 412 to 413: “This Offer is further contingent upon a qualified independent inspector or independent qualified third party performing an inspection of________________________________________________________________________(list any Property component(s) to be separately inspect, e.g., swimming pool, roof, foundation, chimney, etc.)…”. Even with the hint telling us to insert components of the property, some licensees are writing “Entire Premises”.  The consequence of the words “entire premises” in the blank where specific components are to be written may be this:  A qualified independent inspector or independent qualified third party may do the inspection of the property instead of a “Wisconsin registered home inspector” as was first stated on lines 410-411.

When a component (fireplace, roof, foundation…) is inserted in the blank line as intended, the contingency is not ambiguous, and we have an agreement by the parties to allow a buyer to have a Wisconsin registered home inspector inspect the entire property, and a qualified third party or other inspector inspect the component stated, such as “the fireplace, the roof, the swimming pool, the shed, etc.”.

Practice Tip:  When in doubt about what might be written in the blank lines, first look to see if the creators of the form offered any hints or suggestions immediately after the blank lines. I can think of two places where they’ve done so in the Offer. If there is no suggestion, and you feel it necessary to insert something, make sure the words you choose complete a sentence and do not contradict the intent of the contingency.