Seller 6: Getting Your Home From Contract Out to Contract Signed

Now that we’ve negotiated an accepted offer with our buyer, I’ll send a copy of the deal sheet and all due diligence material to the buyer’s attorney. Also, your attorney will send a first draft of the purchase contract to the buyer’s attorney for their revisions. There are a few things we’ve done by new that we’ll now reap the benefits of doing ahead of time:

As soon as we decided to work together, we requested all due diligence material from your managing agent immediately. This way, even if it took your managing agent a couple weeks to get everything to us (not uncommon, all managing agents are slow), that delay didn’t jeopardize our contract, which a delay will always do.

As soon as the home was listed on the market, we chose our real estate attorney from the relatively small circle of attorneys who work exclusively in Manhattan coop and condo closings.While there is no binder system in NYC and an accepted offer is nothing more than a handshake, there is an emotional closure that both buyer and seller experience as soon as an offer is accepted. If the first draft of the purchase contract goes out immediately upon offer acceptance, that closure is reinforced. If there is a multi-day delay in the contract going out while the seller retains their attorney, that closure is compromised. This is also true if the seller chooses an attorney who does not work exclusively in Manhattan coop and condo closings. A low-quality real estate attorney gives themselves away immediately, and can be hugely deflating for all other deal parties.

If there are any exclusions in your sale, such as a chandelier that is a family heirloom, a bolted-on piece of furniture you plan to resell but that a buyer might assume is a fixture that transfers with the home, or a plant in the backyard, we’ve discussed them ahead of time and ideally have already disclosed them to the buyer. If not, disclosing soon as an offer is accepted is far better than doing so even a few days later, or- God forbid- at the walk-through. The same goes for disclosing a needed delayed closing date or sale-and-leaseback provision. Basically, any slight wrinkle in the transaction we should discuss and disclose ahead of time.

Any appliance or fixture whose status is anything less than ‘good-working-order’, has been fixed before we listed the home. If not, now is the time to fix it. Dishwashers or washer / dryers that don’t work, windows or doors that don’t open cleanly, electrical outlets that don’t work… we want those fixed by the walk-through. Even items that would likely fall under the contractually protected category of ‘normal wear and tear’ are best proactively fixed before a walk-though. Doing so is always far less expensive than any sort of closing day disagreement over them, and buys us good will in the event that something unforeseen occurs.

Stay on Top of Your Agent and Your Attorney During due diligence I will check in with your attorney for a status update once per day. It is imperative that the attorneys take a step forward in negotiating the terms of the purchase contract at least once per day until it is ready for your signature. Delays jeopardize contracts, and there is enough potential for delay between the managing agent and buyer’s attorney for any to come from our end.