There has been a recent wave of companies tricking new home buyers into thinking you should be able to buy a house like you buy earbuds on Amazon…by putting it in a shopping cart. Well that set of earbuds doesn’t come with a contract with dozens of different conditions and circumstances in which you could lose thousands of dollars because you as the buyer failed to do something.
There may be some things I am not smart about but I am definitely not stupid enough to enter into a 22 page contract to buy something for hundreds of thousands of dollars that commits me to THIRTY YEARS of monthly payments of $4,000 a month without having an expert in that field help me!
Companies like Rocket Mortgage make it seem that they have some amazing new technology where in fact almost every single lender I know offers the same type of service. Rocket makes it seem like you will never touch a piece of paper..as if you will not actually have to dig up credit card bills and old tax returns after you fill out an online form. You may have these in digital format which is great…guess what…that format also works for every single lender I know. Almost all lenders can also generate a prequalification letter from a simple online form. Sooner or later though you will have to sign 120 pages of documents in the physical presence of a notary whether it is an online lender or not. Why? because its a 30 year contract with a future value of over a million dollars (including interest)! No mortgage company on the planet will let you docusign a Deed of Trust.
You may be used to signing up for websites without reading the terms of service…but if you sign a contract without reading it then you may wind up losing all of your life savings in the blink of an eye. You can’t replace a trusted expert that has experience with the document that you are signing. Can you fix a car just because you watch Jay Leno’s garage? You can’t be a successful home investor just because you have watched HG Channel “reality” shows.
The Multiple Listing Service provides standard contracts that its members are required to use when selling a house that is listed on the MLS. It has silly details in it in it…like when does a day end? No the day does not end at midnight… it ends at 9pm in Washington State. If you have a 1 day inspection and it is Friday then you have until Saturday right? Wrong-You have until Monday at 9pm. What if you have a 5 day inspection and it is Friday? You have until the following Friday. Now check this out….What if you have a 7 day inspection and it is Friday? – You have until the following Friday. This is because any period of time of 5 days or less is counted in Business days, otherwise counted in Calendar days.
Did you know that sellers in WA state have to provide a list of disclosures to the buyer? or that the buyer has 3 days to back out of the deal after they get it? There would be no way for you to know that. There is not any language in the Purchase and Sale Agreement that says anything about this. It just happens to be Washington State law.
I could write 10 more pages about things in the purchase and sale agreement (and things that aren’t) that are not obvious. I have many stories of people getting burned because they thought they were saving money by not hiring a realtor. Also guess what? -If you are the buyer then you don’t even have to pay upfront for your realtor? The seller has probably already agreed to allow the seller broker and the buyer broker to be paid from closing proceeds. The seller doesn’t pay less if only one broker is involved. (and no you don’t benefit from going direct to the listing broker unless you want your advice to come from someone who has a State mandated responsibility to look after the seller’s interest instead of yours)
I am always available to answer questions. My book Winning Seattle Real Estate is available on Amazon. Contact me for the free most recent edition in either digital or print format.