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Dates and times in contracts

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

How important are the dates and times in a real estate contract?

When you are going through the process of buying or selling a house, the dates and times that are listed in your agreements are very important. You must pay close attention to them. There is no wiggle room and you could easily lose the deal if you don't respect them!

Here are two examples of why you need a professional real estate agent (like me) working for you. Especially if you are working with a private seller or if there are multiple interested parties or other complexities of the deal.

My first example involves a deal where the buyer delayed the purchase of a home as they needed more time to sell their home. This used to be a common scenario pre-pandemic where a buyer would make an offer to purchase a home conditional on the sale of their home. They need the money from the sale of their current home in order to purchase the new one.

In this case, the buyer was having a hard time selling their home. They had a few deals come in and fall apart due to the condition of their for sale property. The sellers of the home were getting impatient as the buyer had already asked and been granted an extension to their condition of sale. While waiting for the condition to be met, the seller continued to have showings of their home and accepted a back-up offer.

A back-up offer is one where the offer would only come into effect if the current accepted offer fell apart. If it fell apart, due to many possible reasons (like a missed date/time), then the back-up offer would take its place as the primary offer.

In this real life example, the buyer actually did get an accepted offer on their home, a day after the deadline. There was no extension in place. So, even though they now had an accepted agreement to sell their home so they could buy the new one, the new one was no longer available. It was now being sold to the buyer with the backup offer.

The dates and times are in the contract for a good reason and do often cause deals to crumble. Right away, agreements of purchase and sale have irrevocable date and times that are very important. If the time passes and the offer has not been accepted and signed, then that offer becomes dead and unenforceable. Another critical date is the deposit acceptance date. Usually this is setup for 24 hours or earlier from when the agreement is accepted. If the deposit is not received within that timeline, then again, the deal could be considered dead and no longer binding.

A second example of the importance of dates and times and contract oversight I see a lot is when a buyer and seller try to strike a deal by themselves with no help at all. I have seen it where the seller says that they have the forms that they can use to make the agreement. Sometimes they get them from a kit or a previous sale. Usually they are out of date but mostly can still function to get a deal in place.

The most recent case I saw of this activity had the buyer and seller not actually sign the section of the agreement that stated that they had accepted the offer. There were a lot of other errors as well and a lot of omissions. But the scary part of this is that the buyer thought that they had everything in place and was going to go and sell their home and move up to the new home when in reality, they didn't have an agreement at all! The seller could have easily sold the home to another party if they chose to do so as this agreement that they had would never have held up in court. Fortunately for the buyer, I assisted them and worked with the seller to get a proper agreement in place.

When you are making a deal where several hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line, the impact of an error could have gigantic repercussions.

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