Negotiations aren't always equal

Dated: January 16 2021

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There are two kinds of conversations during escrow that potentially involve giving up something you want. It’s one thing when new information is uncovered, such as a need for repairs or corrections to code violations, or when a lender’s property appraisal comes in lower than the agreed-upon price. This leads to fresh negotiation about who will pay the extra money. It’s a different situation when one of the parties makes a choice that violates one of the terms in the purchase contract. 

In a simple negotiation, neither side has an obligation to make concessions. The buyer and seller make concessions so they can preserve, rather than cancel, the deal. But suppose that a seller removes a beautiful chandelier from their dining room during escrow, and the chandelier was not excluded from the sale in the purchase agreement. In the resulting discussion with the buyer who wants the chandelier restored, the seller does have an obligation. The parties are not on an equal footing, because in signing the purchase contract, the seller has already agreed to sell the chandelier. This distinction escapes some people, which can be a problem.

It takes careful communication by both agent and clients to make sure that clients clearly understand all the obligations connected to a purchase agreement. In the flurry of disclosure-forms that need signing, there is a temptation to begin signing on autopilot, and not consider the terms in the contract that make a difference. I do my best to highlight the important decision points, and protect my clients from themselves if it becomes necessary. This kind of service shouldn’t be overlooked when selecting an agent. It’s also one of the reasons why it isn’t a good idea to have a single agent represent both buyer and seller.

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DAVID DUNLAP

As a residential real estate executive with an extensive background in corporate marketing, I am able to apply unusually strong skills in marketing communications, e-marketing, strategic planning and ....

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