Chris Griffith: Buyer’s remorse is going to happen, but don’t drag it out forever

CHRIS GRIFFITH

Sometimes it’s just the quiet, the way too quiet that is the first sign. Calls aren’t being returned or some type of required, follow up documentation isn’t being produced in a timely fashion.

In this day and age of nearly constant contact it doesn’t take long to figure out what’s going on. For whatever reason, the buyers go silent; no calls, no email, not text. Finally, the light comes on and everyone realizes that someone is experiencing a little bit of regret for the purchase.

Usually, the buyers have found their dream home or dream condo, negotiated their deal to an executed contract and then the little voices start injecting doubt into their thoughts. Did I over pay? Is now the right time to buy? They just read xyz about the economy in the news. Whatever the reason, regret is a powerful emotion and when a buyer has a change of heart the last thing they should do is to start sending calls to voicemail.

Ignoring the situation doesn’t make it go away. I’m not sure why anyone would just pretend their executed contract “just never happened” when they’re in a potentially, vulnerable legal pickle. It is a legal issue, after all, and precious days and hours that go by are being wasted. Rest assured, the sellers aren’t going to forget they negotiated a contract and accidentally sell the real estate to someone else absolving a buyer of their responsibilities.

Unfortunately, at one point or another I’ve had the distinct displeasure of experiencing buyer’s remorse from both the buyer’s side and seller’s side of the transaction. While it’s never fun to be in the middle, there’s work to be done and the matters need to be handled as efficiently and as effectively as possible.

Regardless of how badly a buyer feels there are time sensitive issues that need to be addressed regarding the transaction. Some of the time-sensitive issues actually protect the buyer or could allow them the opportunity to excuse themselves from the contract without any or with little legal or financial consequences.

If you’re a buyer experiencing remorse, face reality and be honest with your real estate agent and your real estate attorney. This is a business transaction so learn and understand the facts about your contract, including any contingencies. There are a variety of clauses that may be in the purchase and sale agreement which could offer a buyer the ability to cancel the contract. For example, short sales or bank involved purchases are contracted as-is with the right to inspect … and walk away if the results are not satisfactory to the purchaser. Also, if the subject property is a condominium, there are timeframes for review and acceptance of condominium association documents, budgets, frequently asked questions, rules and regulations.

If a seller is within their legal rights to hold a buyer’s feet and their escrow deposit to the fire, they should, but time is also money and sellers often benefit from moving on, when necessary, to find a willing buyer without shaky legs. Of course, it’s never pleasant for sellers to be in this position.

The fact of the matter is that if a transaction is going to fall apart, it’s better for all concerned that it happens up front and not weeks or months into the transaction wasting valuable marketing time and costing the sellers additional holding costs that can never be recouped.

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Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.

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