Milestones in a Deal

If you’re an office manager, stop reading here.

If you’re not . . . continue.

So, when is a real estate deal really a done deal?

It’s not when the last signature lands on the last blank line in the Purchase Agreement.

It’s not the technical, legal definition, i.e., when the now-executed Purchase Agreement is constructively delivered to the other party (getting it to their agent qualifies).

And it’s not even when the legal consideration — the earnest money check — is received or deposited.

Give up?

It’s when the Realtor turns in the sale (at least so far as Buyers’ agents are concerned).

Real Estate’s “Fat Lady?”

While MLS rules strictly prescribe such things as how long brokers have to deposit earnest money checks, the reality is that agents — especially Buyers’ agents — have been known to procrastinate turning in the paperwork accompanying a sale.

No doubt that’s because Realtors as a group tend to be allergic to paperwork.

And it can also be because of various loose ends, or because needed information — like who’s doing the closing — isn’t known yet.

But there’s a larger, practical element.

Realtors find the time to collect that info once the deal has slowed a down a bit. Not coincidentally, that’s also usually the point when the deal has firmed up.

But it’s also the case that Realtors don’t make the time to pull all the sale paperwork together until they’re reasonably confident that it’s a done deal.

Turning in the paperwork is tantamount to saying, “Done!”

P.S.: Unfortunately, while turning in paperwork promptly can avert a fine, it won’t get you paid any faster; that only happens when the deal closes, typically 4-6 weeks later.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.
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