As we talked about in Part 1: Paperwork, once you are officially under contract for your Alexandria VA home – that is, your offer has been negotiated and all parties have accepted the final terms – the clock starts ticking on your deadlines.
These deadlines are all spelled out in your contract and all are based on the date of ratification, which you can find on page 15 of the Residential Sales Contract. Of course, your Buyer’s Agent will provide you with a timeline of what will be due when.
Once a contract is signed, the deadlines are firm unless both parties agree to a change, in writing. Never assume the “other side” won’t have any objections to changing a deadline; they may have perfectly legitimate reasons not to or they may simply not be that agreeable. It is far better to operate on the assumption you must live up to your contractual obligations than hope something can be changed down the road. Missing a deadline can lead to serious consequences.
Let’s say you have a home inspection contingency; here’s how the home inspection addendum reads in part:
“If Purchaser fails to obtain an Inspection, fails to Deliver a copy of the report(s) to Seller, or fails to Deliver Inspection Addendum or Notice voiding this Contract prior to Home Inspection Deadline, this Contingency will expire and this Contract will remain in full force and effect with no Home Inspection Contingency.”
Miss the deadline and you can lose your opportunity to negotiate for much-needed repairs should you miss that deadline. That can be a pretty serious consequence.
While in many cases, the seller is motivated to sell and may be amenable to an extension on the time frame, you cannot count on that happening.
In subsequent posts, we will go into more detail about specific contingencies, but the purpose of this post is to stress how important deadlines are as well as how critical it is to establish communication guidelines. It is important to stay in touch while under contract as there is a lot going on during the contract period.
If you work in a secure facility or have a job where you are not easily able to use a cell phone during the day, work with your agent to figure out a way to regularly stay in touch – maybe it means checking your cell phone at lunch or going out to your car at certain times to check messages. Or maybe it means calling your agent at a certain time to check in.
However keeping in touch is accomplished, just be aware that deadlines have real meaning and order to keep the process running smoothly, it’s important to have good communications with your agent.