Can the buyer’s agent present the real estate purchase contract directly to the seller and listing agent in Silicon Valley?

Real estate contracts welcomeIt has become the norm for Silicon Valley residential real estate contracts to be emailed from the buyer’s agent to the listing agent.  In years gone by, that wasn’t the case – “live presentations” were the norm instead.  The buyer’s agent would ask the listing agent to set up an appointment and the two of them plus the seller(s) would meet, usually at the listing agent’s office but sometimes at the seller’s home, for this offer presentation. There are many advantages of presenting and receiving offers in person, despite its current lack of popularity.

The shift came with the prevalence of email and the privacy presumed to accompany it.  For awhile before email took off, some real estate professionals were faxing offers.  That saved time but seemed risky on a couple of levels.  It never seemed very secure until efax came along (taking faxes directly to one’s email). Most faxes in the early days of using that machine belonged to the office. Anyone hovering by the fax machine could see very well the paperwork coming through.   Just as seriously, though, it took away the ability to read the situation in person, to answer questions or to make a positive impression that would help the buyer’s odds of success. It was cold and impersonal.

Today, most Realtors presume that offers should arrive by email.  The better ones will ask: “How would you like to receive my offer?”  The openness to dropping off a sealed offer, present to the agent, present to the agent and seller, email, fax, or have delivered by courier pigeon – ok, kidding on the last one – indicates a willingness to go the extra mile and to get it done. (more…)

Buying a Condominium or Townhouse is a Little Different than Buying a House…Most of the Time!

If you are purchasing a condominum or townhouse in Silicon Valley, you will need to consider a few things more than if you were buying a house that’s not held in condo ownership*.

Like what?

Most of all, with a condo or townhome (or planned unit development) you are buying a fraction of the entire complex as well as your own living space (condo or townhome). Condominium ownership includes a percentage of the community’s property. You will benefit from it, but you also will be responsible for it.

Additionally, there are a lot of  documents to read and understand when purchasing a condominium or town house. You will need to be able to accept the rules, bylaws, financial statements, meeting minutes, articles of incorporation and more.  You will want to read the newsletter (and minutes) carefully to see if there are any “issues” in the complex.  Plan to invest several hours in reading and digesting the information in the 2-3″ stack of papers.

Naturally another difference is that your neighbors will be in very close proximity.  If you are a non-smoker but the neighbor in the unit next door smokes, you may not be too happy about it later.  A few months ago I showed a Rivermark (Santa Clara) townhouse that was just darling but the next door neighbor came out and smoked on the front porch while we were there.  My buyers didn’t want to purchase the home for that reason – they did not want to deal with the smell later. You may have similar concerns about other odors or noises.

Perhaps most important are the financial issues and risks: