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Handshakes are nice, but in a real estate transaction they mean nothing!

Have you ever lent money to a friend who never paid you back? Did you have a contract for the money or did you just shake hands on it and call it good? In most cases that you don't get paid back, it is because you didn't have anything in writing and then it is a you said, they said thing and as the lender you usually lose.

I'm guessing in the above situation you had a bad taste in your mouth afterward and promised yourself you would never lend money to a friend again without a written contract.

So, why do you expect someone you didn't know until a few days ago when you looked at their home for a possible $300,000 home purchase lend them money by doing a verbal on repairs?

If you think a seller is bound by a handshake they do the repairs, then you are dead wrong! Usually the seller "FORGETS" that they were supposed to do the repair and then after the fact says "sorry!" Imagine lending a friend $3,000 to have a furnace repaired and not having it done, this is exactly what you are doing when you do this.

So, get everything in writing or you might as well start lending your friends money again. As I said, "Hand shakes are nice, but in a real estate transaction they mean nothing!"


Respect Realty LLC (Expect More)


At Respect Realty, LLC our agents believe in 100% dedication to client satisfaction.  We specialize in property and land acquisition around the Portland Metro and Vancouver, WA area. We delight in working with first time home buyers and sellers to guide them from start to finish. Our doors are always open and we are always happy to assist you with your real estate questions.


Reach out today, we look forward to talking with you!


Todd Clark and Seraina Aguayo (Owners of Respect Realty)

Respect Realty LLC (Expect More)



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Comment balloon 12 commentsRespect Realty LLC • January 05 2008 01:12AM


Good reminder! 


I love your buttons!  I would be indebted to you if you could teach me how to put them on my blogs! 

Thank you Todd!  I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 11 years ago
By the way, when I give friends or family money, I am REALLY SURPRISED WHEN I DO GET IT BACK....  sometimes years later....  I just mentally write it off as I write the check to them.   It's called the "friends and family tax"
Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 11 years ago

Todd, As a really, really green realtor I sold a condo with at least 6 but maybe as many as 12 failed windows.  They were supposed to be covered and fixed by the sellers' warranty before closing - it wasn't transferrable.  Walk through - no new windows.  Thankfully the listing agents were SO ethical that they set up an overly capable escrow account that if the windows didn't get fixed under warranty they could all be replaced.  I learned a lot from that transaction about how to conduct business, and I'm not talking windows.

Posted by Susan Walters (Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI) over 11 years ago
SOOOoo True.  If it's not in writing - it won't happen.... and have great buttons - I bet all the girls say that to you! 
Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) over 11 years ago
Unfortunately, this is true of many people. A handshake used to mean your word, which was a point of honor and pride.  I think this still exists but is harder to find. My parents taught me to honor my commitments - handshake, contract, whatever, you made a commitment, honor it. 
Posted by Bonnie & Terry Westbrook, Grand Rapids MI Real Estate (Westbrook Realty) over 11 years ago

Mirela - I've gotten a lot of e-mail requests for how I do those buttons also, so watch in the next couple days and I will have a blog up exactly how I did it. The friends and family tax is a great thing to call it!

Susan - That is why we have the final walk through, too often the sellers don't think we will check to see if everything was done. I too have run in to having to use that escrow account.

James - Because of your comment, I've already named my blog about the buttons, so I will give you credit where credit is due. Watch for it in the next day or two.

Bonnie - I've lost $50,000 about 10 years ago because my parents taught me the same lesson. A hand shake is an agreement even though not in writing and you need to honor it. I learned whenever doing a business transaction get it in writing, no matter who it is!


Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 11 years ago
Todd, Everything needs to be in writing!  I learned my lesson on a promise and a handshake.
Posted by Roberta LaRocca, REALTOR®, Broker, Salesperson, Property Management (Simply Vegas Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Hello Todd, great post. Common sense items need reiterating too some times.
Posted by Dionne Morgan, Broker REALTOR ,GRI, e-PRO (Realty World Solano Realty) over 11 years ago

Todd...  I agree 100%....  I request that all parties use email as their primary form of communication.  I want to have EVERYTHING in writing.

Posted by Debbie Summers (Charles Rutenberg Realty ) over 11 years ago
Can't tell you how many times as a broker-owner we have loaned to agents on a handshake, never to see it returned. 
Posted by Trey Thurmond, College Station , Texas Homes (BCR Realtors) over 11 years ago

Roberta – That is usually how we find out the true measure of a person and the hard lesson of handshakes when it hits our pocket book.

Dionne – I wish it could be the old days of handshake deals, but just too many crooks.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Debbie -  I keep those e-mails forevery also, because you never know when someone will call.

Trey - OUCH! My name is all I have, I could never do that.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

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