Q: What are easy mistakes to make when writing a real estate contract?
A: The easiest mistakes have to do with math and spelling. That’s why I always double-check that the good faith deposit, loan and closing balance add up to the purchase price. (Of course, online contract writing programs like California Association of Realtors’ ZipForms have made it nigh-on impossible to get the arithmetic wrong.)
Misspellings are the more likely error. The only thing more embarrassing than misspelling a property address is misspelling a client’s name. (And yes, I’ve done it. More than once. Under deadline.) Luckily, spelling mistakes can be corrected without too much trouble.
More grievous errors — ones with adverse monetary consequences — are much harder to make. Especially here in San Francisco, where our standard contract is a simple, well-oiled, clean machine that’s been nitpicked over for decades. Agents handle the contract while title companies handle the escrow and search the title; attorneys get involved only in exotic circumstances.
But that’s in San Francisco which, in many respects (climate, gender fluidity, percentage of vegans), is located on a different planet than the rest of the nation. That’s just one reason everybody wants to live here and the real estate prices are interstellar!