Too often I hear stories of so-called done deals withering away because the champagne had been cracked long before it should have been. Some of the most heart wrenching and troubling real estate stories I’ve heard have resulted from this very occurrence. Imagine Anuj having settled on the new home of his dreams, thinking the deal was finalized, and then finding out that all the furniture he’d bought and the house warming plans he’d made, and the visions of decorating the tree come December, had all been premature.

Worst yet, imagine Dina thinking she’d sold her home, after much hard work and sacrifice, assuming the deal was finalized, and then finding out that the buyer had disappeared and her home was no more sold today than it was before she’d listed.

Of course the worst scenario would be if Dina had already moved forward and purchased her next property.


Believe it or not, while such scenarios are not common, they can occur, and do occur when ample procedures and safeguards are not implemented to ensure otherwise.

First of all, it may help to understand why these things can happen. Recently I closed a condo deal for a friend and client. After many months of searching, the perfect condo became available and a deal was made. Without getting into too many details, the “other side” decided that they were going to try and let the deal effectively die, even after the financing and home inspection conditions had been waived.

I had very good reason to believe that a higher offer had been presented, illegally albeit attractively, during the time the home had been promised to us.

What’s the number one reason some people try and back out of deals? In a word… MONEY.
For whatever reason the “other side” failed to realize that the status certificate condition was stipulated not to include weekends and holidays.

So on the day they believed to have succeeded in unethically backing out of a deal, we sent them the status certificate waiver, and officially firmed up.

The reason we were able to negate their ill-advised practices was because we were very well aware of all the pertinent timelines as well as our rights and abilities.

While their side was stalling on ordering the status certificate, our lawyer sent legal notice granting an extension for them to provide us the certificate, in advance.

Meanwhile, I secured the status certificate within 48 hours and had our lawyer review it.

It was important that the appropriate notice be sent so that if the matter ever ended up before court, it could be proven that we had no intent of allowing the deal to vanish, and that we took every appropriate measure to move forward as amicably as possible.

It was also important to know that we did not have to wait for the other side to order the status certificate.

Equally important was the fact that the status certificate timelines allowed ample opportunity to act.

Any shorter period of time would not have been enough time to sense that something was peculiar and act towards remedying the situation.

By better understanding the legal ins and outs of the contract you’re entering into, as well as the various seemingly insignificant details, you can aid yourself in feeling more secure about whatever transaction you’re getting yourself into.

On the first page, for instance, is a space for the fax numbers of each brokerage, pertaining to delivering notices. Ask your Realtor about their significance.

Depending on whether you’re the buyer or seller, personally I’d advise differently.

When it comes your time to celebrate, by better understanding these matters, you can help yourself ensure that it really is time to uncork.

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