from Local Attorney, Michael H. Wasserman

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Two days ago, I wrote about the re-emergence of multiple offer transactions. In response, I heard from a number of real estate agents who confirmed that they are encountering this phenomenon. I also have heard from another of others who essentially groaned and who all collectively wished for just one stinking offer, at this point, any offer.

They are, almost certainly, still be in the majority - which lead me to states an obvious truth:
These days, it (still) is really very hard to find Buyers who are willing to submit a written purchase offer.
and perhaps a somewhat less obvious truth:
That's just half the battle.
Its just as hard (harder?) to get contracts to close. Doubt me on that one? Ask any realtor or real estate lawyer, mortgage broker or loan officer. Ask at the title companies too. They will all likely sigh heavy and confirm it. A great many contract are taken that never close. Even the contracts that can and do close have their problems. These days deals are just as likely to close late as on time.

Some times it is the Seller's fault. Other times, it is the Buyer. More often than not, there is a mortgage lender on one side of the deal or the other that is going to shoulder some of "the blame."

Closing on an offer in no sure thing. Not with any reasonable degree of certainty, anyway. Until the markets stabilize, signing a contract is best viewed as a calculated risk for the Seller... an expensive one at that.

Whatever the reason, unclosed contracts serve nobody well. No home/shelter for the Buyers. No money to the Sellers. No commissions earned for Realtors or mortgage brokers. Everyone incurs costs. Other opportunities will have been lost. The time invested in putting the deal together? all for naught.

HOWEVER, with care and caution, savvy Sellers, and the real estate agents & attorneys that represent them, can minimize those risks of delay, disappointment and dashed hopes of a closing.

I have been studying several recent instances of canceled deals trying to understand why these contracts are not closing - and what can be done to improve the odds. I have looked at both deals I have worked on personally, and had some extensive conversations to debrief colleagues and other business associates about their recent transactions.

My research points to six critical steps that every Seller can (and should) take as they market their homes and consider offers from potential Buyers.

These ideas will be described over the course of several upcoming blawg posts.