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Non-Standard Purchase Contract Conditions

It sure is a crazy real estate market here in Calgary these days.


In line with that, we're seeing some crazy things that some buyers are trying to add to a purchase contract AFTER it has been agreed to and signed. Here a few examples:


A "pre-possession walk-through" of the home at a mutually convenient time. An okay idea if it had been written in at the offer stage, however there is no benefit in doing so since the existing standard contract terms fully protect the buyer. And it's not a great idea to try to add this term after the fact. There is absolutely no upside for the seller to agree to that term. The use of this term is used specifically for when work that had to be completed had to be inspected -- of course adding a properly worded hold-back clause would be necessary at the same time or the term is a complete waste of time.


A term added regarding protection for the buyer should a home be destroyed prior to closing date. That is already covered in the standard contract language.


A term added to automatically renegotiate the price to half way between the accepted price and an appraised value -- if an appraisal is required. I don't know why a seller would even consider accepting this, but kudos to the buyer that tried.


A term added to required the seller to provide receipts of a professional cleaning prior to closing. Really? A clean home isn't enough? I haven't seen a buyer who didn't do a good cleaning upon possession. A "professional cleaning" is the buyers' expense. If you wish the seller to provide it, recognize that they will be asking for more money -- I suggest to my sellers thrice the cost of the cleaning, just due to the added inconvenience.


Now if you wish terms like these added to your purchase contract, feel free to speak with your real estate professional prior to the contract being accepted -- ideally at the "Offer to Purchase" stage of the negotiation when the offer is being drafted.


Some of the clauses I also see being added to make a real estate agent's life easier:


A term to allow the email of the contract between agents and that email communication will be deemed to be effective at the time it was sent. Considering every agent has a "free" eFax account as part of our local real estate board's fees, this saves maybe 30 seconds of work. But it does allow the contract to be sent back and forth several times without compromising its legibility.


A term to allow digital (click to sign) signatures to be used (e.g. Docusign) and that they are deemed as effective as wet signatures or electronic (stylus on tablet) signatures. This saves agents from having to drive across town to get their clients' signatures. It could save an agent hours. But for clents really only benefits the ones that are out of town There are iPhone apps that permits wet signatures onto PDFs which are as legal as faxes and much more convenient to use so I'm pretty sure what they are saving. One agent boasts that he saves about $13,000 of time each year by using them since he no longer has to actually meet with his clients to get their signatures. Hmmm, I wonder what his clients would think if they knew he publicly boasts he is worth $115 per hour and nets $150,000 per year in commission income. He is saving his time without saving is client's much more than having him show up at their doorstep or find them at their workplaces.


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