Paperwork: It is Not Personal, It is My Job, Ack!

Paperwork to submit short sale offerAnybody who works with Sacramento real estate agents knows that a truism for many agents is we all hate to do paperwork. That’s a fact. Further, many agents are not detail oriented. The traits that make an agent excellent at working with other people and a successful negotiator don’t necessarily transfer to the paperwork department. Most people cannot be the life of the party the night before and settle into a cramped chair to prepare a tax return the following day.

The two don’t necessarily mix. Like rap and classics, although Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga would disagree.

Some of us buck the norm; even though we are gregarious, we might carry that weird gene — the one that wants to make sure all of the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed and will occasionally give in on ending a sentence in a preposition if it happens to add flavor and comes with. This weird gene somehow blends rather nicely with the social-butterfly gene, that one that embraces people and life and looks for the joy in the world. That’s my personal makeup as a Sacramento real estate agent.

When a buyer’s agent sends me a purchase contract, I want to make sure we are all on the same page. I sometimes ask the seller to send a counter offer, but it’s much cleaner if the paperwork is prepared properly in the first place. Sometimes agents can get very exasperated because they didn’t check a box or they checked the wrong box or they didn’t include the proper addendum or are missing required documentation, and they might misinterpret a request for those documents as extreme personal punishment, which is understandable from their point of view. They hate paperwork. Just because they hold a real estate license does not mean they understand contract law.

It’s a difficult spot, between rock and hard. Does a listing agent prepare a two-page counter offer that could make the buyer’s agent look incompetent or does the agent ask for a revised offer? How does the seller know if the buyer understands the agreed-upon terms if it’s unclear?

Yet, it’s engrained in me that if we’re entering into a legal contract, then it should be a clear understanding and agreement and executed correctly. That behavior probably stems from my years as a Certified Escrow Officer. In a buyer’s market — which is what it seems like we’re transitioning into — sometimes the best solution is to correct the other side’s mistakes for them and just go forward with the transaction. Focusing on the big picture and sweeping up along the way. Just get it done. That’s why we’re hired.

The only time a client will notice this stuff is if we’re sitting in front of a judge in a court of law who asks why we didn’t require a completed purchase contract. And that’s not a place any of us wants to go. I know the difference, and I’ll continue to ensure it’s done correctly in the first place, regardless of what I have to do to achieve it. Paperwork: it’s not personal, it’s my job.

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