News & Information: Risk Management Resource

Soothes The Soul

Friday, May 4, 2012  
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Risk Resource
From the May/June issue

There's always time for playing it safe
when it comes to your transaction

By Sarita Cabrera

When "Risky Business" premiered in the 1980s the movie slogan read: There's a time for playing it safe and a time for risky business. This statement couldn't be more apropos than in today’s highly litigious real estate market, so don't pull out your sunglasses and slippery socks until you set yourself up for success.

One important risk-management skill a real estate agent should cultivate is attention to detail, from proper contract writing and follow-through to documentation. As you review an offer with your buyer, ask yourself:

  • Does each page have all the appropriate initials and signatures?
  • Are the addenda that are checked off on the last page included?
  • Is the Seller’s Real Property Disclosure Statement attached?
  • If the answer is no to any of these questions, make the corrections prior to submitting the offer.

From the moment you have a fully executed contract, you should be checking all the documents and managing the file properly. Here are some items to consider on your path to a risk-free transaction:

  • Check that both the buyers and sellers have signed, initialed, and dated every page.
  • Use the Florida REALTORS’® pre-written contract addenda when possible, rather than your own wording.
  • E-mail the co-broking agent to confirm dates and term deadlines.
  • E-mail your customer the finalized dates and next steps.
  • Ask for confirmation of escrow.
  • If the escrow is moved mid-transaction, write an addendum indicating where it is being held.
  • Follow up every contingency with a contingency release.
  • Include all changes to contract terms in an addendum, not an e-mail.
  • Having issues? Document, document, document!
  • Lastly, do a final walk-through and get the buyers to sign-off acceptance in writing.

Hopefully, by practicing thorough transaction-management skills, closing day will arrive without a hitch. Obviously, we cannot foresee every issue that can occur but we can handle each transaction professionally. As you leave the title company with check in hand, you deserve a little celebration; so put on your sunglasses and strut to some of that "Old Time Rock and Roll!” You deserve it.

Sarita Cabrera, Prudential Florida Realty, is a member of the ORRA Risk Management Committee. She can be reached at

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