After reading some of the Q & A here on Active Rain I sometimes feel like I should take up a lantern like Diogenes of ancient Greece and go looking for an honest man or woman. Over and over again I see questions from buyers and sellers who are looking for a way out of a contractual obligation, just because they have changed their minds. Now, I understand that sometimes they may not be able to perform their part of the contract due to unavoidable problems, loss of a job, a death or illness, etc. However, time and again it is because they have just changed their minds and decided not keep their part of the bargain.
In my own career, I have seen sellers who decided two days before closing that they would not sell their home. The poor buyers had invested in financing fees, a survey, an appraisal, two inspections, and a lot of time. They had also sold their home and had their belongs on a truck on the way to Zephyrhills. It boggles my mind how a seller can do this with no feelings of guilt. Sadly, they get away with it since many brokers are reluctant to sue for the commission that is rightly due them.
In the Q & A I see a lot of buyers who want to know how many days they have to cancel the contract they just signed. I feel like shouting, "If you were that unsure, why in heck did you sign the agreement in the first place?" They have greatly inconvenienced the sellers and the agents involved in the transaction. But that does not seem to matter to these self-centered persons. To our members credit, they often bring up the inconvenience and problems that cancelling will cause the innocent other party in the transaction. It appears that today people take their word and the word of others very lightly. Are you seeing that in your areas?
Most of my inspectors and handymen know that if the buyer stiffs them that I will take care of them. That is a trust I have developed with them. As REALTORs we need to be sure that our word is indeed our bond. If we say we will do something we need to follow through. I once had a poor buyer and I told her I would pay for the termite inspection if it turned out she could not buy the home. Usually these inspections cost no more than $50 in our area. When I got the bill my eyes popped out since she had chosen a company that charged $150! No matter though. I had told her I would take care of it and I did. My reputation and my word are two of the most important assets I have. (Though next time I may wait to see the bill before I promise:) Once I make a promise I feel compelled to do as I said I would do.
The vast majority of buyers and sellers still do fulfill their contractual obligations. However, I do see that the numbers of those that don't is increasing. Hopefully this trend will reverse itself, but I think that is wishful thinking on my part.
John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida