Good Faith Gesture: “Sold, Subject to Inspection”
As veteran Realtors (if not their clients) know all too well, it ain’t officially a deal until all parties have signed, and the Purchase Agreement and any Addenda have been delivered to the other party (actually, their agent).
Lots of Buyers learn that painful truth each year when, in the throes of multiple offers, what they believed was a done deal suddenly vanishes in the face of an un-dotted i — and an even more attractive offer from a competing Buyer.
Verbal vs. Written Agreement
Unfortunately, logistics don’t always allow for all parties to immediately sign once there’s verbal agreement on terms.
The Seller may be traveling, and unable to get to a computer.
There may be multiple Sellers in different parts of the country, if the home is part of an estate.
The Seller may be elderly, and need help with electronic signatures.
Or, they don’t have a computer (see, “elderly”), and their agent needs to physically meet with them to get their actual (“wet”) signatures.
You get the idea . . .
(Almost) Done Deal
Fortunately, in the meantime, there’s something that the listing agent can do to signal to the Buyer that it’s a done deal.
Namely, switch the listing’s status on MLS to “Sold, Subject to Inspection.”
It’s not binding, and can easily be switched back to “Active” — a bit worrisomely, without affecting the listing’s archival history (not true of switching to “Pending”).
However, at least in my experience as a Buyer’s agent, I’ve yet to have a deal where the listing agent changed the property’s MLS status to “A, i” and the Seller’s signatures were not forthcoming soon after.
See also, ““Wet” vs. “Dry” ” and It’s Got Nothing to Do With Basements, Shop-Vac’s, or Alcohol“; “Done Deal!” (or, is it??). How Home Buyers Know for Sure the Seller Accepted Their Offer“; “Written vs. Verbal Counter-Offers”; “Purchase Agreements, Deadlines, and (Other) Ultimatums“; “Not-So-Done Deals: The Downside of Verbal Negotiations ” & Purchase Agreements with an Undotted “i” or Uncrossed “t”.