Home Buyers (and Sellers) Beware – January 1 Contract Changes

Business Team Signing Contract

If you’re buying or selling a home in Northern Virginia in 2014, you should be aware there are usually changes to the regional contract forms twice a year – on January 1st & July 1st. Examples of forms changing on January 1, 2014 include:

  • Seller Post Settlement Occupancy Agreement
  • Release from Regional Sales Contract
  • Purchaser Pre Settlement Occupancy Agreement
  • Home Inspection and Radon Testing Contingency
  • Contingencies and Clauses
  • Virginia Jurisdictional Addendum

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Behind The 8 Ball

Home Buyers & Home Sellers – make sure you are not caught unaware & put behind the 8 ball!

Terry Belt Realtor The Belt TeamTerry Belt, Realtor & CEO of The Belt Team says, “It’s not unusual for us to get contracts on our listings on forms that are out-of-date and even on forms that are from other states. Laws change & local practices change – and it’s in YOUR best interests to make sure you are represented by a Realtor who works full-time and is proficient at writing good contracts. Whether you’re buying or selling, you want to be protected and you want clarity on both sides.

Let’s take the Home Inspection Addendum for example. Under the new form, Buyers (and their agents) need to be especially aware that if the end of the negotiation period comes, and the Seller has not responded to the Buyer’s request to repair or replace items found on the home inspection, the contract does NOT become void (as it does under the 2013 contract). Instead, the Purchaser has the option to void – and if the appropriate Notice to void is not delivered or delivered on time, the contingency is automatically removed & the contract remains in full force & effect.

Tom Reilly Buyer Specialist Northern VA Real EstateWhat this means“, clarifies Tom Reilly, Lead Buyer Specialist for The Belt Team, “is that the Buyer can void the contract, but must now take proactive action to do so, rather than just allowing the contract to lapse. This is a huge change in practice in Northern VA. We will ensure that our Buyers understand this so that if there are MAJOR inspection issues that arise, and the Seller does not respond or agree to address them, our Buyer will not end up bound by a contract inadvertently.

This is just one example of MANY changes we will be seeing in 2014. But it’s a great illustration of why it’s important to have an agent representing you who write contracts frequently and is abreast of ALL the changes. The average Realtor in the United States only sells about 5 homes per year. And many buyers & sellers choose to be represented by agents who practice less than full-time – just because they are a family member or friend. Savvy buyers & sellers know that it doesn’t cost any more to be represented by the BEST Realtors in the area. (And it keeps those precious family relationships intact!)

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The Belt Team’s Mission Statement is “Changing Lives For The Better”. Is it time to change YOURS? Call (703) 242-3975 or email The Belt Team today!

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