Why “What’s in the Purchase Contract” is More Important Than “What’s in the MLS.”

Westcoe Realtors, Riverside California…Let’s face it…miscommunication can run rampant on the best of days, but when it comes to real estate contracts and purchases, this is the last place you want to have a misunderstanding. However, no matter how good the intentions of the buyer, seller, and real estate agents can be, sometimes it happens. The subject of today’s blog will hopefully address one particular area of a real estate purchase and keep you from being on the short end of this stick.

Every seller who lists their property with an agent will also have that property put in the MLS data base for that geographic area. This MLS data base allows all the other real estate agents who work in the area to know about the property….bedrooms, baths, lot size, and seemingly a thousand other points of interest about the home.

Besides the “hard” data referenced above, there is also a section where the seller will list any items or issues that are particular to this property. As an example, the seller may say that the chandelier in the entry is not included with the property….or the matching drapes (to the bedspread) in the master bedroom are not included in the sale….or the shed in the back yard is not included in the sale…or that the sale of this home is contingent upon the seller purchasing and simultaneously closing escrow on another home, etc.

You get the idea. In other words, the items above are those things the seller wishes the buyer to know when purchasing the home.

However, just because the seller has put those items in the MLS does not mean they are part of the purchase contract. Any items like those noted above MUST BE IN THE PURCHASE CONTRACT AS WELL, OR THEY DO NOT APPLY.

Understand that the data in the MLS is what the seller wants to have happen…but there is no agreement between the buyer and the seller unless the items noted in the MLS make it into the purchase contract. In other words, the seller can ask whatever they want in the MLS, but it is the agreement between the buyer and the seller (the purchase contract) that controls.

For example, take the chandelier request referenced above. When the seller discovers that contractually they have to leave the chandelier because it was never noted in the purchase contract, they will naturally point to the MLS, which clearly states it is not included. However, the buyer will say that they may have seen that, but their offer to purchase wanted it to stay, and since the seller never noted otherwise, then the chandelier stays. In essence, the chandelier was negotiated with the purchase price.

Naturally, at this point, the seller is spitting nails (probably at their listing agent), and rightfully so…in our example, the listing agent totally dropped the ball. Also, this situation can be in the reverse. The buyer sees something they like in the home, and tell their agent they want it included with the purchase. Well, if the buyers agent forgets to include it in the contract, then it’s not included, and now the buyer is spitting nails.

The bottom line here is that the listing and MLS are only about the seller…the purchase contract is about BOTH the seller and the buyer.

In the end, the moral of this story is to make sure that as a seller or a buyer, you are communicating clearly with your real estate agent, and know that this communication is most important with the purchase contract, and not just the MLS data.

Good luck, hope this keeps you from “spitting nails”, and as always, thanks for reading our blog.

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