This one is for all the naïve buyers and sellers out there who think an escalation clause is a good idea. We’re not trying to shame you or say you’re wrong, but let’s just tell it like it is. It’s wrong for most residential contracts. That’s right, I said it.

An Escalation Clause is wording in a contract that states the potential buyer is willing to go above a certain amount. For example, a buyer may agree to pay $1,000 more than the next highest offer received by a seller.

An escalation clause is basically designed to strengthen a buyer’s offer in a multiple offer situation. In theory, it is fairly simple. The buyer offers a certain price for the property, but if the seller receives another offer that is higher, this buyer is willing to increase their offer up to a point. Escalation clauses are a tactic used by some buyers to make their offer more appealing and ensure the seller will choose their offer.  

It might sound like a good idea for a buyer trying to win in a bidding war and an even better idea for the seller looking for the highest sales price. Sellers welcome buyers willing to pay more than anyone else. So why does the Texas Association of Realtors strongly discourage the use of escalation clauses? Why are they frowned upon by so many real estate industry leaders?

Let’s dive deeper.  I’ll get my swimsuit.

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Let’s play a game I like to call “Don’t Get Sued.” We surveyed fewer than 100 escrow officers and asked them: “What is a common mistake you see on residential contracts?”

The top 8 answers are on the board. Ready with your buzzer? The survey says the 8 most common contract mistakes that could get you in trouble are:

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TREC

The Texas Real Estate Commission is on the hunt for someone to fill the simultaneous roles of TREC executive director and Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board commissioner, state home sales are trending upward again (but it’s more of a mixed bag in North Texas), and we find out what demographic is more likely to tap into retirement to fund their downpayment on a home, all in this week’s roundup of real estate news.

TREC on the Hunt For New Executive Director

TREC

Douglas Oldmixon

Longtime Texas Real Estate Commission executive director Douglas Oldmixon is retiring in March 2020, and now the agency is on the hunt for his replacement.

The TREC executive director also serves as the commissioner for the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board and, according to the agency, “is responsible for organizational culture and day-to-day operations of the agency.”

“This includes managing staff and agency resources, overseeing the annual budget, and developing and implementing a strategic plan in collaboration with TREC and TALCB policymakers appointed by the Governor,” the agency continued.

TREC and TALCB provide oversight of real estate brokers, appraisals, property inspections, home warranties, and more. It also provides licensing, education, and complaint investigation services. (more…)

How to make a buyer’s agent cringe: Ask for a 60 day seller lease back. While lease backs hold appeal for many sellers, it’s enough to make Realtors shudder at the thought of the problems that can accompany them.

A Sellers Temporary Lease allows the seller to continue living in the home after closing for a short time – anywhere from one to 90 days. It is designed to allow for delayed possession of the property by the buyer.

This temporary lease is used when a seller needs additional time after closing to relinquish the property. This may be for any number of reasons. The seller may be waiting for school to finish or need more time to move their possessions. Or they may just want to ensure the transaction actually closes and their funds are in the bank before moving out.

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Assigning Contracts

Assignment of a real estate contract is looked upon with suspicion by lots of folks. While it is not legal in all states, under Texas law, contracts are assignable unless there is a specific clause in the contract that prohibits it.

There are some sellers who become upset when they discover that the person buying their property is not really the person buying their property. That their buyer has sold the right to purchase the home to someone else at a higher price.

Assignment of a contract is when someone enters into a written agreement to purchase a property from a seller and then that person assigns their interest to someone else. Typically, this is done when the original purchaser is a wholesaler. We will call them the Assignor. They find a property, put the property under contract and then find someone else (an Assignee) to whom they sell the contract for a fee.

The Assignor hands off the contract’s benefits to the Assignee while the property is still under contract. They may do this without the consent of the seller. But … there’s always a but.

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Fort WorthVista Bank named a new president for its Fort Worth market, Cushman and Wakefield announced a new hire, and Governor Greg Abbott named a new chair of the Texas Real Estate Commission.

Grant James

The 107-year-old Vista Bank announced last week that it had hired Fort Worth banking veteran Grant James to head its market there, where he will serve as president.

James has 40 years of industry experience and is a graduate of TCU. His role will include leading a team of bankers there, growing market share through retail and commercial business development, and establishing brand awareness.

“Vista Bank has been focused on growing our presence in the thriving city of Fort Worth over the past several years,” noted Vista Bank President and CEO, John D. Steinmetz. “An experienced and well-respected banker in the Fort Worth community, Grant James is a strategic addition to our leadership team and we are excited to have him.”

James will office at Vista’s Fort Worth location, 1300 Summit Ave.

“As my banking career has progressed over the last 40 years, I’ve become a firm believer in the community banking model,” noted James. “Even in our busy world, each of us has a desire for some degree of personalized attention – in a word, ‘hospitality.’ By delivering traditional banking services with a focus on hospitality, we intend to create unique experiences that clients will feel compelled to share with friends and family.” (more…)

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

March is a month for changes — in both the Texas weather and real estate contracts. Haven’t you heard? There are recent contract changes that became mandatory for use by agents on March 1, 2019. 

Don’t worry. You’re not the last to learn about these changes. Seems like very few agents are aware of them. They aren’t life changing, but they’re important when it comes to terminating a contract, getting a mortgage or the appraisal.

The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) recently adopted these changes to the addendums that accompany real estate contracts. I think they’re a good thing because they help clarify issues and potential disputes.

Here is the short and simple version of these changes that are now mandatory if you’re using TREC contracts (which would be everyone I know):

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Dallas City Councilman Kevin Felder surrendered Tuesday to felony charges stemming from an alleged scooter accident he is accused of fleeing from — and if convicted, those charges may mean more than a felony record.

Felder, who represents District 7, has been accused of fleeing the scene of an accident where he allegedly hit someone traveling by scooter in South Dallas.

Councilman Felder and his attorney, Pete Schulte, vehemently deny the charges. (more…)