There seem to be more uncommitted buyers in the market today than in past years. By uncommitted, I don’t mean procrastinating in making offers; I mean procrastinating when it comes to diligently honoring deadlines in contracts.
I keep hearing over and over from buyer’s agents, "My buyer just doesn’t care and is allowing deadlines to come and go putting closings at risk." If you have said those words, look in the mirror. Buyers do not know the consequences of failure to meet deadlines unless you, their trusted agent, tell them.
You have an obligation as a buyer’s agent to educate your buyer on what all of the deadlines in a contract mean and the consequences for not meeting them. Buyers need to understand that sellers accept the terms of offers based on the buyer meeting specific deadlines in the contract by the closing date. When aking a seller to extend a contract, one cannot assume the seller will grant the extension at the original terms. The seller may have had to make another payment on his current residence, thereby making the original terms unacceptable.
Teach your buyers that meeting deadlines are essential to protect themselves from having to request an extension that might not come at the original terms. A good idea might be to provide each buyer with a list of all of the deadlines in the contract and discuss the consequences of not meeting them. The buyer may demonstrate a stronger commitment and meet deadlines timely once they understand that the seller accepted their terms as written.
Additionally, listing agents should make sure sellers give thorough consideration to the amount of earnest money deposited. Is the amount acceptable to the seller in light of the length of time the house might be off the market? A buyer requesting an extension due to not meeting deadlines could also result in the seller wanting more earnest money.
Contract deadlines are essential, and you should inform your buyers of their importance. Client education is the key to a smooth and successful transaction.