Step right up. Get your hot dogs, peanuts. Oh, wait. Wrong kind of concessions. Get your mind out of the amusement park and back to real estate.
Real estate concessions aren’t offered up in a cone or on a stick. These kinds of concessions are allowances offered by a seller to a buyer of a property. Occasionally a seller will offer an incentive to potential buyers in the MLS listing. Maybe they will include the washer and dryer or patio furniture with the sale. More often though, the buyer will request and negotiate a seller concession in the contract. They may want the piano or pool table. But usually, the buyer negotiates for some of their closing costs to be paid by the seller.
In the standard TREC residential contract, non-financial seller concessions such as furnishings or appliances are addressed by attaching a Non-Realty Items Addendum to the contract. This should always spell out exactly what is being transferred with the sale.
It’s closing day. Say cheese! All those photos of smiling faces on closing day offer proof that most folks are delighted to be closing on a home. Either they’re getting the keys to their new property or they’re getting a check for the sale.
Before the popularity of social media, most people mailed out moving announcements to let friends know they’d bought a home. Today, social media now plays a dominate role in announcing a move.
In this age of selfies and sharing, many homebuyers, sellers, and agents like to announce this kind of cheerful news with a closing photo. Just check out the social media posts on popular sites to find friends and families celebrating big events in their lives. Buying or selling a home is one of those big events.
“It’s a major milestone in your life,” says Kimberly Rote of Allie Beth Allman & Associates. She rates buying a home up there with getting married or having a baby.
It’s Homestead, Sweet Homestead in the State of Texas. Our Texas constitution can help prevent Texans from becoming homeless if they are in a financial bind. Texas homestead protection laws guard your homestead against foreclosure by judgment creditors such as credit card holders, bill collectors, or winning parties in lawsuits.
This special protection from creditors only extends to the homestead. There are a lot of legal definitions of a Texas homestead, but basically, it is a primary residence owned and lived in by a family or single adult. You can only have one homestead entitled to be exempt from seizure by claims of creditors. If the property is not a homestead, the creditor has the right to go after that property to satisfy a lien.
Imagine finding the perfect home. After weeks, maybe months, of searching, it’s just what you’ve been seeking. You get it under contract and have it inspected. After jumping through all the hoops for the mortgage, hiring movers, packing, and more, you’re ready to close. Then the seller decides they don’t want to sell it to you after all.
Wait, you say. They can’t do that. You would be right.
But what if they do it anyway? What options does a homebuyer have when a seller changes their mind?
For the seller who changes their mind, there are consequences. For the would-be buyer, there are a couple of options.
The standard Texas residential real estate contract contains several options for buyers to terminate their contract for various reasons. While sellers may not like it, it makes sense that the person bringing the money has the most options.
The most popular option is the paragraph that requires the buyer to deliver an option fee for the right to terminate for any reason within a specified period of time. This time period is usually when the buyer will perform inspections. The option fee is payment for the buyer’s right to walk away from the contract. Whether or not they exercise that right doesn’t matter. The seller may cash an option fee check at any time and keep the option fee if the buyer terminates. Typically, the buyer gets credited for the option fee at closing when they do not terminate.
The option fee must be delivered to the seller or listing agent within three days after the effective date of the contract or the buyer may lose their rights under the option period. The crucial part of the option period is the DELIVERY of the option fee. Not receipt of the option fee. These are actually two different actions. Let me explain.
When someone is buying a house, there is a deadline in which to deliver their earnest money to the title company. And they’d better not miss it. We don’t care if it’s too hot outside, they overslept, or the dog ate their homework. A deadline is a deadline.
A buyer has three days to deposit funds with the title company. If the third day is a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday, then the last day to deliver it is moved to the following business day. The title company will sign a receipt of earnest money with both the date and time the funds are received.
What happens if a buyer doesn’t deliver the earnest money to the title company on time? The skies will open up and swallow them. Well, maybe not. But there are consequences.