The KISS principle of keeping things simple when it comes to buying real estate is a guiding principle for me and my clients. It’s more important than most people realize. I’ve identified three major reasons this is true for you if you are going to buy a home or land in the Sequim or Port Angeles area.
The KISS Principle and Sellers
First, complexity can confuse the seller. Anytime you negotiate with a seller, too many issues or too much complexity can cause a seller’s mind to blow a fuse. They try to comprehend, filter, balance, and mentally compute the possibilities and consequences of various responses. The default response for a seller who is not 100% sure of exactly what the details of an offer will mean to them is to reject it. Complexity can lead to a “no,” or an outright rejection, or an unreasonable response. By the way, complexity doesn’t necessarily mean the terms of your offer are really complicated. Complicated to the seller is anything that does not live up to the KISS principle, anything that could push a seller not to sign. How the offer is drafted and the complexity, or how much you stick to the KISS principle really depends on your real estate agent, doesn’t it?
The KISS Principle and Agents
Second, complexity can confuse the other real estate agent (the listing agent). You might have to draft an offer dealing with a number of issues that makes your transaction unique, and perhaps the seller would accept it, but that depends largely on how their real estate agent explains it. If the listing agent does not understand some of the language or cannot articulate the terms or the reasons for the terms, your offer never breaks through the fog so the seller can accept it. I cannot tell you how many transactions I’ve personally seen in which the listing agent on the other end kills the transaction or makes it painful for everyone because they don’t understand fundamental contract law, documentation, or unambiguous language. In the worse cases, the listing agent arrogantly thinks they know contract law when they do not, and they actually give their sellers bad advice. Periodically an inexperienced agent will argue real estate law with me, and I had a 20 year career as a real estate attorney drafting contracts. When it comes to negotiating, arrogance is the enemy. Many sellers don’t realize how important it is to retain a real estate agent who is knowledgable yet humble. But if you’re a buyer, you can understand this, and you can understand how important it is to get a buyer’s agent who can work through complex issues and yet practice the KISS Principle.
The KISS Principle and Escrow Officers
Third, complexity can confuse mortgage brokers, underwriters, and escrow officers. There are many people involved in a real estate transaction, and the last thing you need is someone on the team misunderstanding what their precise role should be. Again, the KISS Principle will make everyone’s job easier.
Practicing the KISS Principle is not just about making everyone’s job easier. The most important reason for you and your Realtor to practice the KISS Principle is to avoid ambiguities, uncertainty, and to reach an agreement with the seller as quickly as possible.
I always practice the KISS Principle, and all the offers I write are drafted to handle every issue and every legal concern, but I do so with clear, unambiguous language, and all the forms I use are clean. Agents on the other end of my transactions tell me all the time it is a pleasure working with me, because my clients and I cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s while practicing the KISS Principle. But it’s not easy to do this.
Mark Twain once said that, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have time.” It is much harder and takes much more knowledge and experience to draft a clean unambiguous offer a seller can understand with all the necessary terms in these challenging times without having problems with the underwriter or anyone else in a transaction. When you buy your Sequim home, don’t forget the KISS Principle.
Last Updated on September 20, 2019 by Chuck Marunde
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