Seriously? Sure, it happens...but not often. In ten years of real estate I've only had two agents tell me after they conveyed acceptance of an offer that they had missed an important term. The first time we were within a week of closing and the agent only noticed because more than $2000 towards the Buyer's closing costs showed up on her Seller client's side of the Settlement Statement. Her remedy? We could split the expense out of our commission with her. Our remedy? NO! That particuar agent paid $2000 out of her commission towards the Buyer's closing costs. Ouch, right? The other instance was an overlooked Seller paid Home Warranty policy to the tune of $450. We received the counter-offer from the Seller's Agent (same as if the Seller communicated it directly) and in response to my query of "other than the purchase price and closing date, all other terms are acceptable?", I got an answer in the affirmative. It was only when the Seller's Agent was reviewing the contract for initials and signature was the Home Warranty term discovered. MONETARY TERMS IN A CONTRACT ARE IN THE BLANKS!!!!! They are in the easy to find blankety blank blanks.
So, what's the moral of the story? First of all, consumers...when your agent tells you that all offers should be in writing, this is just one of the many reasons. Both of these offers were in writing and STILL got screwed up. Second of all, Seller Agents...do whatever you have to so that no blankety blank blanks get overlooked! Print an extra copy and highlight the terms. Create a little cheat sheet of the expected blankety blank blanks. They are predictable, no mystery.Third of all, Buyer Agents...try to forget the term "verbal offer". When filling in the blank blanks and you find there is a blank you don't need, use that fabulous N/A! Who needs mystery in the transaction? There is no profit in mystery with real estate.
As a Buyer's Agent, rarely do I need to break down the offer when presenting it to the Listing Agent. My job is to present the offer without prejudice. If there is a particularly weird condition to the offer then I will make sure that part is not overlooked. As for the blankety blanks though, what if I did break down the offer into a handy little cheat sheet for the listing agent and I FORGET A TERM???? No, that isn't happening. We are all licensed and learned professionals, or should be. As careful as I am, there will always be the chance that I forget to convey an important term and I'm profoundly grateful it hasn't happened so far. I do know that I would be mortified to admit to the other agent after we think we have acceptance and conveyance that I missed an important terms. My cheeks are flaming just imagining it.
One more thing to note for the sellers...highlighters are wonderful inventions. It is your right to ask for a copy of the offer and while you may not want to turn the official document into a kaleidoscope of colors you certainly can highlight all the terms. Look for the blankety blanks. They are important and there is nothing as awkward or harmful to a transaction as admitting that part of the Buyer's offer was missed.
That particular blankety blank part of the offer just might cost you a contract!