What is a “Kick Out” Clause?

What is a kick out clause?A kick out clause refers to language in the contract which permits the seller, in some cases, to cancel the contract with the current buyer.  The current buyer is “kicked out” of contract.  Another expression for the same idea is a “release clause” – the seller can release the buyer under some situations.

This is a bit of a surprise to most Silicon Valley home buyers, who tend to think that they can walk away from a property during their contingency time frames, but a seller is stuck with them, no matter what.  That’s simply not true!

In the last few years, both the CAR and PRDS contract forms have been updated.  Both now include language that specifies the seller’s right to cancel the contract.  Both parties have rights and responsibilities. Failing to do what one has promised to do in the purchase agreement could potentially find that home buyer out of contract and without that home to buy.  There are many shades of gray, and few things are automatic.  If a seller is going to give a buyer the boot, there will be a “notice to perform” tendered first.

Let’s talk specifics.  When can the seller kick out or release the buyer? (more…)

Competing Against Multiple Offers: Contingencies and Timeframes (Part 5)

In the first four posts in this series on writing an offer when competing against multiple offers to purchase a Silicon Valley home, we focused on the financial terms.  In the next few posts, we’ll address the non-financial terms that can “sweeten the pot” to help you succeed – without giving away all your rights!

Price & terms work together like the scales of justice.  When they are “level” to each other, you have a normal sale with a good reflection of market value (normal terms, normal price).  If one is low (poor), the other will need to be high (good) to “even out” the balance.  If the terms are fantastic, the seller may sell the home for a little less or may pick that offer if there are multiple bidders.  If the terms are terrible, the seller may only sell the home if it sells for a bit more to compensate for the terms.    With multiple offers, sometimes you can only go just so far with price.  But often you can improve your offer with the right terms.

Offer ContingenciesToday we’ll focus on contingencies specifically.  Contingencies are not the only terms, but they’re among the most important terms in your offer to buy a home.  We’ll look at both which contingencies may be involved in your offer and potential transaction, and how much time (how many days) to allow for each.  In my opinion, you should never write an offer with NO contingencies. It is just too risky!