We are selling a house to a buyer - our realtor doesn't like things in writing.

Asked by Ann, Silverdale, WA Sat Apr 5, 2008

We are selling a house to a buyer - our realtor keeps insisting everything is normal and certain conditions don't need to be in the written contract (such as the buyer has a 6/27/08 or sooner close date, while we would like a 6/27/08 or sooner close date by mutual agreement). Is this normal, and do we have any protection of our realtor's gentleman's agreement?

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Dave Muller,…, , Kitsap County, WA
Sat Apr 5, 2008
Is the only concern that you have the closing date? If it states on the first page of your purchase and sale agreement that closing is 6/27/08 or sooner and both parties have signed the agreement, than it is agreed to in writing. What is the specific concern that you have? You have to ask the question, is the contract enforcable or voidable? If there is a concern and your Realtor is not meeting the standards of best business practices, then talk to the Broker in charge. If you are still uncomfortable with the contract after that, consult an Attorney.
2 votes
Lara McHenry, Agent, Spokane, WA
Sat Apr 5, 2008
Everything in writing....always in the written agreement. Your Realtor owes you representation and therefore should be looking out for you and the best interests of the seller. It is very important to have the close date be a mutual agreement and not open ended or up in the air. I would insist that those loose ends be tightened up and followed through with appropriate addendums so that perfomance of all parties is met in a timely manner. If you are concerned...talk it over with your Realtor and express that this is necessary for you to feel comfortable with the contract.
Wishing you a timely and successful close on your home.
Best of Luck.
2 votes
Larry Story, Agent, Greensboro, NC
Sat Apr 5, 2008
In NC every real estate transaction has to be in writing if it is to be enforcable. No basically you do not have any protection for a verbal agreement. You will be talking about just like Elvis said he said she said and heresay is not going to stand up in court. I have always found it to better to be safe then sorry so document everything.

Larry Story
Coldwell Banker Triad
2 votes
Dan Weldridge, Both Buyer And Seller, Lacey, WA
Thu Jul 10, 2008
without writing it never happened
1 vote
Wendy R. Lat…, , Port Orchard, WA
Wed Jul 9, 2008
In Real Estate, there is no such thing as a "gentlemen's agreement". EVERYTHING MUST BE IN WRITING!!! Good luck to you.
1 vote
Dianne Dibley…, Agent, Port Orchard, WA
Sun May 11, 2008
GET IT IN WRITING. If it's not in the contract you don't have anything, your closing is still over a month away, get the Broker, he/she is responsible for the agent, if the Broker is your agent, get a lawyer, but get your dates & times right, time is of the essence, there is nothing wishy washy about a contract & why pay a Realtor, we have a code of ethics, honesty & integrity is part of being a Realtor. He can be a gentlemen outside a contract but first he has to be professional.
Web Reference:  http://www.diannedibley.com
1 vote
Jean Bradford, Agent, Silverdale, WA
Thu May 1, 2008
Hello, Ann,

It is totally bizarre, that any licensed Realtor would not want EVERYTHING in writting....even the inclusion of the refrigerator. There is no such thing as a "gentlemen's agreement" on the sale of real property. Your buyer is also not protected. I would need more information to make a recommendation of the most immediate action to take; but you most likely need to take a copy of this contract to a real estate attorney!

Jean Bradford 360-698-8155
Associate Broker, ABR, GRI, CRS, CRB
John L. Scott Real Estate
Silverdale, WA 98383
1 vote
Linda Carroll…, , Lacey, WA
Fri Apr 18, 2008
Like Dave Muller, I am curious if the only concern is the closing date?

Many factors enter the timing of the closing. What is the day of posession? Are you worried about if your new place will be ready in time?
1 vote
Brenda Mills, Agent, Blaine, WA
Wed Apr 16, 2008
Hi Ann. The short answer is if it's not in writing, it's not enforceable. While for some minor things a gentleman's agreement may seem to make sense ("Will you be leaving the appliance manuals in the kitchen drawers?), other items including all the concrete terms such as price, closing and possession dates, etc. must be in writing to protect all parties. If your Realtor isn't having the parties sign off on all the agreements, that is not typical and does not afford you the protection you need.
1 vote
Rich Jacobson, Agent, Poulsbo, WA
Wed Apr 9, 2008
There really isn't much more that I can add to what others have stated. I tend to always err on the high side when it comes to contract language. If something isn't clearly stipulated within the contract on an particular issue of concern to you as the Seller, simply insert the desired language using the Optional Clauses Addendum or Form 34 (General Addendum). Having something in writing, agreed upon by both parties is binding. A verbal agreement or handshake would not hold up in court. There should be an agreed upon closing date on Page 1 of your Purchased & Sales Agreement. What does that page state?
Web Reference:  http://www.soundbiteblog.com
1 vote
Julie Fried…, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Apr 6, 2008
There are no verbal real estate contracts. Period.
1 vote
Mark McFarla…, , Pierce County, ND
Sun Apr 6, 2008
If it was not to late,my ansewer would be,"GET RID OF HIM" everyone knows that everything must be in writing and signed by both parties,or it is not enforceable,and they can get out of anything!! There is no gentelman agreement when it involves money and Real Estate anymore!!
Mark McFarland/Windermere South Inc.Puyallup,Washington!
1 vote
., , Grand Rapids, MI
Sat Apr 5, 2008

If it is not in writing, it is only as good as the paper it is written on!!!!

....and rarely are there gentlemen when money is involved.

Get it in writing!!!!!
Web Reference:  http://www.OwnGR.com
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Sat Apr 5, 2008
Those are the types of things contracts contain. Your agent is telling you they don't have to be in the contract? They should not only be in the contract, they should be in the written offer. It's not normal at all, speak to their broker. Not sure if you use attorneys in Washington for real estate transactions, but, do you have an attorney? If so, what do they say?
1 vote
Leonardo Mon…, Agent, Rancho Mirage, CA
Sat Apr 5, 2008
Hi Ann,

Do it in writing....always.....what is surprising to me is that your Realtor is not the one pushing to have it done in writing.
Web Reference:  http://www.leonardoteam.com
1 vote
Trecia Denney, , 33511
Sat Apr 5, 2008
In Florida everything has to be in writing. Any changes to the contract must be initialed by both parties as well. Get it in writing!
1 vote
Dan Edwards, Agent, Bellevue, WA
Sat Apr 5, 2008
It's called the statue of frauds. Here is a link. You may want to forward it to your Real Estate Pro.

Get everyting in writing.
1 vote
Sona Merlin, Agent, Asheville, NC
Sat Apr 5, 2008
Though I don't know all the circumstances, a very wise man told me early in my career that everthing that gets agreed on should be in writing- why wouldn't it be
1 vote
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Sat Apr 5, 2008
There is a saying in business. An oral contract is worth the paper on which it is written.
There is also a Chinese proverb: The faintest pencil is better than the best memory.

Everything in a real estate transaction needs to be documented. We are required to maintain a communications journal of all client contact. Plus, all agreements between buyer and seller are REQUIRED to be in writing.

I am assuming you have a signed listing agreement with your Realtor. I would recommend discussing your concerns with your Realtor. If they do not take you seriously, then I would suggest talking with their Broker, who actually is legally responsibile for your listing.

There is sometimes a difference between the escrow closing date and date of possession. Particularly with moving coordnation, utility hand off, and liability/insurance issues, this change of ownership needds to in writing so the moving van of te buyers doesn't show up the day before your moving van arrives.
1 vote
Courtney Coo…, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sat Apr 5, 2008
Real estate is in writing.

Every little detail should be in writing.

There really isn't much more to say - it just absolutely has to be in writing in order to be enforceable.
1 vote
James Hsu, Agent, Bothell, WA
Sat Apr 5, 2008
it's called the Statue of Frauds which essentially just says ...all contracts HAS to be in writing. Verbal means nothing. This is not the time nor place to be playing nice-guy. As your agent, his duty is to protect your interests and that is having EVERYTHING in writing.
1 vote
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Sat Apr 5, 2008
No. This is not normal. And some would not consider such actions professional. It should all be in writing. Document, document, document. You need much better protection than you're currently receiving.
1 vote
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