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The Selling Agent

Today I drove past "my" house and looked again for a "SOLD" or at least a "Sale Pending" sign. No sign to be seen.

I called the listing agent and pretended to be interested in the property. She told me the specs - the price, the # of bedrooms, the square footage, etc. I asked to see the house Thursday (the inspection is Thursday at 3:30) and she said "well, we have a deposit down, but nothing is final and "they" are having an inspection done on Thursday. I told her I'd call her back on Friday to see how it goes.

I suppose that all of this is normal, but it still feels somewhat odd having an agent tell you that your house - the one for which you've signed a contract and taken out a mortgage - is still not yours, and in fact is one she still thinks she may show to other people. How many deals fall through at this stage?

The first house Carey and I looked at, we were told "they've signed the contract, sorry" well before the inspection was done. Oh well. Maybe after Thursday the seller will put a darn "Sale Pending" sign up. 😛

6 Responses to "The Selling Agent"

  1. Erik, If PA works anything like NJ, then after you sign the contract there is a mandatory period called "attorney review." That is when both sides have their lawyers go over the contract and proclaim it good-to-go, make changes, etc. Technically, you are not under contract (in NJ) until both lawyers have agreed. The house can still be shown and the buyer or seller can back out. So the short is that even though you signed a contract, you may not be under contract. Sellers will often continue to show a house hoping for a backup bid in case your deal falls through. Speak to your broker and find out what is happening.

  2. PA uses a pretty standard form and attorneys are only used for title/deed transfer and all that jazz. They also take in the down payment and any closing costs and distribute them to the proper parties.

    You're considered "under contract" in PA as soon as both parties sign the contract (and sign/date any changes to the contract).

  3. TOTALLY normal, STI phase... took me a while to get used to the term "subject to inspection" as being a limbo state.

    So say you get the place inspected and the inspector finds a hole in a furnace exhaust pipe. You say "Hey, I want that fixed before I buy the place". The seller should fix it, if they want to move the house, but let's say they say "No way". You now have the right to refuse and bail on the offer or fix it on your own, if it's a non-issue for ya, and continue onto the next inspection issue. (for me, once I find a place I like, I'm taking it come hell or high water... it would take a foundation crack or missing furnace for me to back off, but that's just me).

    Either way, the all agents involved will continue to build up interest, in the event that you say "Forget it" on a sticking point on the inspection - which is not as uncommon as I once thought it was! It's fair to all involved: the seller and the agents b/c they can still gather interest if your deal gets cancelled and for you, aside from the stress of the thought that someone else is checking out yer new digs... the seller can't up the price or anything - w00t - and if you find that there's continued interest while STI, it helps prove that you have found a good property...

    Sorry for the chatter - I just went thru this whole process from Feb to Apr and the offer I made was over asking price (I was going in against another offer at the same time and I snatched it away from the first would-be buyer).

  4. Backing out of a contract at the last minute is as common as dirt. Saying yes to a broker is not going to put the house on reserve for you, or place some magical SOLD sign in the front yard.

  5. Houses are usually shown until after the inspection clears. Depending on what you picked for your inspection claus, it my not be as easy to back out as Randy said. In most cases, you'll lose the hand money you've already put down, so if something major comes up in the inspection, you'll have to really check out your contract before backing out. Back-outs are very common, and some agents never put up Sold signs. If the agent keeps showing the house shortly before closing, after the inspection clears, call your agent and have them talk to the other agent.

  6. Dude, relax, that's pretty common.

    Kel and I bought a house a few months ago, and it wasn't until after we got through the house inspection, got things cleared up after that, and signed the papers with the lender that the SOLD sticker appeared. Closing was five days later, and we were in the house for over a week before the real estate agent took down their freakin' sign.

    Word of advice: Have your agent put in the contract that their sign must come down the day of closing.