Here is an extremely interesting real estate story that poses a lot of questions regarding real estate contracts. A New York woman signed a contract to purchase a co-op for $2.3 million in an 89-unit building in Manhattan. She put 10% down, or $230,000. Unfortunately, before she closed on the home, she suffered a stroke and died. Her heirs asked the sellers for the return of the deposit and they said no. They said that the estate needed to go through with the purchase or they would be in default of the contract.
The heirs went to court and after a few appeals, the New York Supreme Court ruled that the heirs were indeed in default. The Court ruled in favor of the sellers and the case was dismissed. That $230,000 was long gone.
I was appalled when I read this. Especially considering the sellers sold the unit to another couple for $2.125 million. So it wasn’t a money issue – well, it will be now after all their attorneys’ fees and court costs. So I’m thinking, “Well, at least that’s not an issue in Illinois.”
So I went through the real estate contract that I use here in Illinois and I was wrong! Nowhere is there a clause that states that in the event of death the buyer is not obligated to go through with the contract. There is a mortgage contingency where if you can’t obtain a mortgage by the deadline and you serve proper notice to the sellers, the contract becomes null and void and you’ll get your deposit (earnest money) back.
There is an attorney review contingency where within 5 days of signing the contract by the buyer and seller you can disapprove the contract for any reason except the purchase price.
But nowhere does it say you don’t have to go through the sale if you become incapacitated, ill, or die. You’d just have to hope it happens within 5 days of signing. There has been suggestions of adding this clause to real estate contracts: “In the event of the death of Purchaser before closing, then the executor or administrator of Purchaser’s estate, shall have the sole right to terminate this Contract provided written notice of termination is sent within thirty (30) days after the occurrence of such death. All respective obligations of the parties under the Contract shall thereupon cease and be of no further force and effect and Purchaser’s estate(s) shall immediately obtain a full refund of the Contract Deposit.”
I think this language should be added to contracts. Just be sure to always read the fine print before signing anything. Obviously, in most cases, death isn’t something you know about or plan ahead for. So this clause can help your heirs and your estate from losing money.
I’m curious to hear what you think. Would you have sided with the New York Supreme Court? Or do you agree with the buyer’s heirs?
Kacey Lauchnor, 25, grew up in a family with suspect health habits. “If we ever ate a vegetable, it was covered in cheese,” says the graphic designer from Herriman, Utah. Her eating habits continued throughout college and after her wedding, and by 2012, 5’6″ Kacey clocked in at 232 pounds. “I knew I was getting fat,” she says. “But I still thought, I’m not that fat.
After her husband—who had reached 314 pounds himself—was denied life insurance coverage because of his size, Kacey signed them up for a variety of workout classes. “It was hard at first but a lot of fun,” she says. “It was always something different—cardio, lunges, squats, kickboxing.” By August 2014, she had cracked the 150’s, and before the winter holidays, Kacey saw 140 pounds on the scale for the first time she could remember. (Her husband dropped a cool 85 pounds too.)
Here’s how Kacey was able to accomplish her weight-loss goals:
• Write down the plan. “Willpower doesn’t happen in the moment. Always make food decisions—like what you’ll eat for lunch—ahead of time so you’re not tempted in the moment.”
• Learn what full is. “As I started to focus on eating more slowly, I began to naturally notice when I felt like stopping.”
• Find exercise you enjoy. “If your workout feels like suffering, try something else.”
RELATED: How One Woman Finally Put the Kibosh on Her Stress Eating and Lost 100 Pounds
For more on Kacey’s incredible weight-loss journey, pick up the July/August 2015 issue of Women’s Health, on newsstands now. In the meantime, check out more inspiring weight-loss success stories and healthy ways to lose weight.
Many people think your IQ or innate talents predict how well you’ll do in life. However, after studying thousands of people, psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth found the true predictor of success is grit.
What’s grit? Good question. In this talk, Duckworth explains what this characteristic looks like, plus how you can get, um, grittier. Your motivation levels will skyrocket in just six minutes.
A single failure can make you second-guess everything. Lose one opportunity, and suddenly you’re wondering whether you’re a good salesperson, if your product works, and perhaps even why you’re doing this at all.
Rather than letting your self-doubt snowball, watch this speech. Famous writer and philosopher Alain de Botton puts success and failure into perspective, arguing that we need to focus on what we do well rather than how we fall short. It’s the perfect reality check when you’re feeling unsure of yourself.
After a major deal falls through at the finish line, it’s tempting to play it safe for a while. But although going after small and easy deals means you probably won’t hear another late-stage “no,” it also means you won’t land any of those reach customers that’ll shoot your name up on the leaderboard.
When you’re in safe mode, watch this talk by Astro Teller. As head of X, Google’s (now Alphabet’s) experimental “moonshot factory,” he oversees a lot of crazy, bold projects — and unsurprisingly, a lot of them end up flopping. However, from his perspective, failure isn’t just normal and expected: It’s actually beneficial. By the end, you’ll feel charged up again.
After losing a deal, it’s important to figure out what went wrong. However, asking the client for feedback and reflecting on what you could’ve done differently isn’t easy.
Get some incentive by watching Carol Dweck’s TED talk. Dweck, a world-renowned researcher on motivation, delves into the amazing effects of believing you can improve. She’ll give you the mental push you need to objectively review the lost deal — so when the next opportunity arrives, you’ll be a better, smarter salesperson.
They say laughter is the best medicine. The only problem? Right after you’ve lost a sale, you’re probably not feeling too receptive to humor.
That’s why you should watch Maysoon Zayid’s speech. It’s one of the most hilarious TED talks (or talks, period) of all time — seriously, the jokes are so fast, furious, and side-splittingly funny that you won’t be able to resist cracking up.
Plus, Zayid’s story and attitude are truly inspiring. Even if you don’t let loose a single chuckle, you’ll feel buoyed by her relentless optimism.
When everything’s working well, you’re probably not thinking about how to improve. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
On the flip side, when something does go wrong, your brain goes into overdrive. You’re suddenly hyper-focused on finding a solution — and when you do, you’ll probably achieve far more success than before you failed.
Tim Hartford shares some of the best examples of this phenomenon in his TED talk. It’s a fantastic one to launch before brainstorming ideas on how to improve your sales strategy and techniques.
You were sure the prospect was going to sign — so when they pulled out at the last minute, you’re far more upset than when you heard “no” from the prospect that you knew was on the fence. But while these “close but not quite” experiences are frustrating, art critic Sarah Lewis argues you can’t achieve mastery without them. (She would know: Her job literally involves studying the masters.) Lewis says near wins keep us moving forward, while successes can sometimes satisfy us into complacency.
So if you want to be the Michelangelo of sales, well, maybe losing that deal will actually help you in the long run.
J.K. Rowling may be one of the most richest and powerful women in the world; however, in 1994, after her “exceptionally short marriage had imploded,” and she’d become “jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain” Rowling says she was the biggest failure she knew.
Ouch. Yet in this TED talk, Rowling says hitting rock bottom was the best thing that ever happened to her. Not only did it motivate her to work harder than she’d ever worked before, surviving that period in her life has given her immeasurable confidence. Rowling’s words will definitely lift your spirits and inspire you to get back in the game.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m suffering a setback, my shoulders usually slump, my body sinks, and I curl into myself. I’ve always suspected this body language makes me feel worse; after all, it’s pretty hard to regain confidence when I’m physically projecting insecurity.
In this presentation, Amy Cuddy confirms my hypothesis. According to Cuddy, how we sit and stand doesn’t just impact how others see us — it also impacts how we see ourselves. Luckily, you can fake it till you make it. So watch the talk, then go do a power pose or two.
Now that you’ve watched a TED talk or two (or all nine — I’m not judging), hopefully your spirits have lifted. Let me know which talks you liked best in the comments.