Because of the industry I’m in, I hear ALL KINDS of stories about how people manage to get themselves, and other people, into a huge, huge mess. Most recently, I’ve been hearing quite a few stories about a nifty little thing called earnest money. The most common, and horrifying, tale is the one of the buyer who decides to buy a FSBO and no-questions-asked just hands their earnest money over to the seller. Does just the sound of this make anyone else cringe? But wait, it gets so much worse. The buyer doesn’t just hand over a thousand dollars, they hand over thousands of dollars, and happily trust that either a) everything in this transaction will go extremely smooth and they will be joyously living in the new home of their dreams in no time, or b) the seller will hand back thousands of dollars with a smile on his face after the deal goes horrendously south. Right, neither of those are highly likely, and what ends up happening is the buyer leaves empty handed – no home, no thousands-of-dollars – and brokenhearted, probably angry, hurt, and defeated.
It’s always unfortunate to hear stories like these. Not only do these tales inflict a certain sense of emotional rise, they also make me shake my head because this can be completely preventable. I hate, hate, hate to see people get taken advantage of. It makes me sad, and angry, and eventually a little bit jaded. Can you imagine how those buyers feel when it’s over? When they have to drive back to their rental, and look their wives and kids in the face and confess that not only did they loose a deal on what they thought was a great home, but that they also lost thousands of dollars. It breaks my heart to imagine having to go through this.
I’m not going to go on a rant about why you should go with a Realtor, yada yada, but I will tell you that in everything, be cautious and do your research. It’s the little things that go uncontested, the bits of trust you put into a stranger, that can break your heart and change your life.