A couple of weeks ago the seller for a listing I have in the Hermosa area of Chicago and a couple of buyers reached a verbal agreement for the sale of the house. The buyers’ agent got the buyers’ initials on changes to the initial offer and their check for earnest money. What typically happens at this point is that the agent for the buyers personally delivers the offer and earnest money to the listing agent’s office. Sometimes if an agent is booked with appointments or the offices are far apart, the offer and earnest money are overnighted to the listing office. The agent for these buyers faxed the offer and sent the earnest money check in the mail. It ended up costing the buyers money and probably some sleep.
Until I received the earnest money check I wasn’t going to have the sellers sign the offer. Thus, we didn’t have a contract and if a better offer was submitted, the sellers could have accepted it. In Illinois, real estate contracts must be in writing.
Six days after the Realtor mailed the check, it still hadn’t arrived. The buyers stopped payment on the check. A day later the Realtor overnighted another check to my office. Within a day we had a signed contract, but not without some stress and a little additional expense for the buyers.