Dealing with title held in trusts and divorce is an interesting topic. When people get married, they often create a trust together. In general, they are each named as a trustee. When they buy a home, the title is often put into a trust. Unfortunately, in some cases, divorce happens. On this topic, I received a phone call from a referral source. He said he had met someone divorcing and they needed to sell their home.
Signing documents online is generally simple enough. This may not be possible in a divorce, especially if they are still living together in the property. When the clients can not agree, and I am in the room or on a conference call, sometimes I excuse myself. During the details of trusts and divorce when signing a listing agreement, with communications between the parties strained, I always say call your attorneys for legal advice.
Tuesday, time to celebrate If buyers sign docs? Whoa, slow down. So buyers signing loan documents to purchase a home and closing are two different things. Of course, many times closing escrow happens more often than not.
Ok, so what can happen to stop the recording and hold up a close of escrow? The buyer does a walkthrough of the property they are buying and guess what? If a property is a mess and the seller has removed items they were supposed to leave such as washer dryer and refrigerator, it may not close. This is just one scenario. A buyer only has to call escrow and say do not record and the entire process comes to a dead stop.
When a home seller cancels the contract for non-performance, she must have a specific action that the buyer failed to complete. In this case, it is the buyer’s good faith deposit. The contract specifically states the buyer’s funds must be deposited into the title company within 3 days after acceptance of the buyer’s offer.
In this particular escrow, there have been many conversations about the deposit and several reasons why the funds have not been wired. A car wreck, an illness and then a tragedy in the family with their child. Another reason for the delay just happened this week. The funds were somehow wired to the wrong title company. The seller’s agent has been very patient. Everyone has a line in the sand and the seller and her Realtor have reached that point with the buyer. The buyer has truly tried everything within her means but has been unable to perform.
No agent is an island in this business. I might be a rock but I am not an island. I need my team members, escrow officer, transaction coordinator, lenders, title company, appraisers, office assistants and, most important, the agent on the other side to successfully close.
The trick is to not burden the client with every little hiccup in a transaction. That’s one of the reasons home sellers and buyers hire a Sacramento real estate agent — it’s to be a buffer. This doesn’t mean we don’t disclose what’s going on, but there are some behind-the-scenes situations that don’t affect the parties and the parties might be better off not hearing about it, until it closes, if ever. There is no reason on god’s green earth to make other people miserable if they can be spared.
That’s why Powers that Be created real estate agents. We are the ones who often bear the brunt of the transaction. We take the punches so our clients don’t have to.
The agent I worked with on this last transaction was wonderful. She worked tirelessly to meet the demands of the escrow, and I would eagerly work with her again in a heartbeat. Many agents are fabulous in this business and will do whatever it takes to close. In the beginning, though, her buyer was a little bit wary and not as optimistic as his agent.
The home that sold was newer, built in 2010, so we weren’t overly worried about defects or problems, although every single home on the face of the planet will have some kind of defect. There are no perfect homes out there. But because so many escrows lately have developed problems midway through after buyers discover a small defect and suddenly wanted to renegotiate or lower the price, the seller, on advice from a legal friend, elected to be upfront about what she expected. Cut off that behavior at the pass.
In the counter offer, she explained the Sacramento home was sold in its AS IS condition. Yes, that verbiage is in the contract, but few pay attention to it. She simply asked the buyer to agree not to request repairs nor try to renegotiate, regardless of what a home inspection may reveal. The buyer was worried that he could not cancel, but after he thought about it he realized that was not really a valid concern. The seller wanted assurance of some sort that when she removed her home from the market, the buyer would not continue to negotiate.
She wanted the AS IS clause to mean AS IS. Not maybe. There are buyers in Sacramento who have no intention of closing on the sales price they offer. They know it when they write the offer. These types of buyers plan to further reduce the price after the home has been removed from the market for a few weeks. That’s a sneaky way to do business.
Some buyers don’t know when the negotiations have ended. Some negotiations, on the the other hand, never end. But this one did. It stopped at the counter offer. The buyers agreed and the escrow closed, as they say in Shakespeare, without further ado, sigh no more.