At the beginning of each new year, the Forms Committee presents a number of changes to the GAR [Georgia Association of Realtors] contracts. The major changes are as follow:
1/ a revamped Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement encourages more sellers to complete the form and puts more emphasis on the purchaser’s home inspections. Georgia has long been a caveat emptor (or “buyer beware” state) and the revisions are meant to take some pressure off of a Seller, and instead lead a Buyer to rely on the home inspections for the discovery of defects. However, the form continues to require the seller to disclose latent defects.
2/ the Conventional Financing Contingency Exhibit has not longer a requirement for the Buyer to apply for the loan within a specified amount of days. The specified date option has been replaced with a requirement that the Buyer apply within a ‘reasonable‘ time.
3/ the Purchase and Sale Agreement [F20] has 2 new items:
- C.4.f. clarifies the Binding Agreement Date. To do so, it is recommended that the accepting party utilize the Binding Agreement Date Notification [F124].
- #13 authorizes the sharing of the settlement statement. Since the Closing Disclosure Form generated by lenders contains information meant for the Buyer’s eyes only, many closing attorneys are generating their own Settlement Statements that give a summary for the transaction, which can be disseminated to and viewed by all parties to the transaction, since the statements don’t contain any of the Buyer’s personal protected information. However, item 13 specifies an ALTA Settlement Statement that not all attorneys will choose to use….
4/ Agreement to Keep Offers Confidential [F142]. Over the past few years, Sellers have been utilizing the fact that offers are not automatically confidential, and Sellers have shared offers from one potential purchaser to another, in an attempt to “shop” offers. Although the prior contracts didn’t prohibit this practice, Buyers certainly didn’t like it. Now the form clearly requires that the Buyer’s offer remain confidential, and to prevent the Seller from “shopping” one buyer’s offer to another potential buyer.
Latent defect: A latent defect is one that would not ordinarily be found by a potential buyer’s inspections performed prior to closing.
Binding Agreement Date: in short, the binding date is when the person accepting the offer/counteroffer properly notifies the other party of the acceptance.
Source: Campbell & Brannon, LLC