Buy Alexandria Real Estate: Read That to Which You Agreed!

Alexandria Virginia Real Estate Blog

Read That to Which You Agreed!

The #1 Rule of Real Estate is Location, Location, Location.

A Close Second is: READ THE (insert favorite expletive) CONTRACT!

Read the Contract!

The real estate contract is the beginning and end, the authority, and the document with the most importance in any real estate transaction.  You've heard it said that "an oral contract is worth the paper that it's printed on!" 

In Virginia, there's a clause in our Regional Sales Contract that states that "All contracts for the sale of real property must be in writing to be enforecable.  Upon ratification and Delivery, this Contract becomes a legally binding agreement.  Any changes to this Contract must be made in writing for such changes to be enforceable."

In other words, if you want it to be part of the deal, you'd better write it down.  Moreover, when it's been written, you should


YellowjacketCase in point:  The following is just a small example of the necessity of reading the contract.  This past Friday my clients closed upon the purchase of their beautiful home in Falls Church, Virginia.  Among other things, one of the agreed upon repairs from the inspection item list was that "the yellowjacket nests" were to "be treated by a professional exterminator." 

While the seller graciously had agreed to a long list of inspection item repairs, my buyer clients learned a day or two before settlement, that the seller tried to treat the yellowjacket nests on his own, using a spray can of Ortho.  This was not acceptable to my clients nor was it in compliance with the written words in the contract which clearly stated that the problem was to be treated by "a professional exterminator."

I reminded the listing agent of this agreed-upon language, and fortunately the seller hired a professional, remedied the problem, and we were able to settle.

Just goes to show that every word is important in a contract. 

Read it.  Read it.  Read it.


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Comment balloon 8 commentsBrian Block • September 14 2010 01:29PM


Truer words were never spoken! Or better yet, written!

Amazing how these seemingly small details can derail even the best of deals sometimes.

Posted by Jim Palmer, Washington County, Florida (Chipola Realty - Chipley Office (850) 638-2777) almost 8 years ago

Great point Brian!  We have sellers agree to make repairs in certain manners and try to remedy themselves all the time.  It takes an agent with confidence to push the point for what is right.

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) almost 8 years ago

I think ALL states should have ginormous writing at the top of every real estate contract that says....

PLEASE READ THIS...(seriously, you are either selling or buying...and it is kindof a big deal here).

as well as


Tracey G. Shrouder


Posted by Tracey Shrouder, Listing Specialist (360 Realty) almost 8 years ago

Great point - I would be like your buyers, since I am DEATHLY allergic to bees!  We had a contract earlier this summer that said, "Donkey Transfers at No Value" written into the contract... It's NC, #justsayin'

Posted by Eleanor Thorne, Equity Resources 919-649-5058 (Equity Resources) almost 8 years ago

Good try by the seller. I feel sometimes they just try to go cheaper route thinking buyer or their agent won't care. However tough luck Mr. seller....buyer hired a professional who knows the contract and his job!!

Posted by Ritu Desai, Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949 (Samson Properties) almost 8 years ago

Excellent that you caught this one! People often try to get away with doing repairs on their own to save the money!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) almost 8 years ago

Wow, I had an inspection not long ago in Falls Church where there were yellow jackets near where the electrical attached to the house and on the front porch, right at the corner of the house.  What a coinky dink...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

OK, I hate to be the odd "man" out, but if the yellow jacket nest was gone & no bees were left, most buyers wouldn't care how it was corrected.  NOW, if this was an electrical, HVAC, plumbing or appliance defect I would have certainly pressed for a professional to correct the defect. 

I wonder how a professional exterminator killed bees & removed the nest when the seller had already done both?  Seems like it was a waste of money - BUT ULITIMATELY MY BUYER WOULD MAKE THAT DECISION, not me.

Posted by Heather Embrey, Your :) Real Estate Source (Better Homes & Gardens Premier) over 7 years ago