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2021 Option Fee Contract Updates | Patten Title Company
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March 30th, 2021

2021 Option Fee Contract Updates

The Texas Real Estate Commission have updated a variety of forms that will be required moving forward. One of those changes involved the handling and delivery of the option fee in the contract. Patten Title is fully prepared to implement these changes and are here to help you understand what the changes entail. Here are some FAQs to help you navigate these updates.

The Texas Real Estate Commission have updated a variety of forms that will be required moving forward. One of those changes involved the handling and delivery of the option fee in the contract. Patten Title is fully prepared to implement these changes and are here to help you understand what the changes entail. Here are some FAQs to help you navigate these updates.

What changes are being made to the delivery of the option fee?

 

Under the revised contract forms, which become mandatory April 1, 2021, a buyer is required to deliver the option fee to the title company, not to the seller. Patten Title is already equipped to ensure a smooth & secure delivery of this fee.

 

What is the deadline for delivery of the option fee to the title company under the revised forms?

 

The deadline has not changed: the buyer must deliver the option fee to the title company within three days after the effective date of the contract.

 

May the buyer deliver the option fee together with the earnest money?

 

Yes. The option fee and earnest money may be paid separately or combined in a single payment. The amount delivered will be applied first to the option fee then to the earnest money. Any amount of funds remaining after that will be applied to any additional earnest money. Our tool Zoccam is a simple, secure method to deliver these funds in one easy payment from your mobile device.

 

Will the seller have to wait until closing to receive the option fee from the title company?

 

No. Under the revised forms, the buyer authorizes the escrow agent to release and deliver the option fee to the seller at any time without further notice to or consent from the buyer, and releases escrow agent from liability for delivery of the option fee to the seller. The option fee will be credited to the sales price at closing.

*Note, however, that any disbursement may be conditioned on the collection of good funds acceptable to the escrow agent. Title companies, which are regulated by the Texas Department of insurance, must comply with “good funds” rules before disbursing option fees.

 

When will the updated versions of the forms be available for license holders to use?

 

Because corresponding changes need to be made to two additional forms – the Notice of Buyer’s Termination of Contract (TREC No. 38-6) and the Short Sale Addendum (TREC No. 45-1)—the updated contract forms will not be available for use until after the February 2021 Commission meeting, when the Commission meets to finalize these forms. Once published on the Commission’s website, the use of these forms is voluntary until April 1st when they become mandatory.

 

Will title companies be ready to receive option fees?

 

Patten Title is currently equipped with tools to receive these payments. One of the tools we use, Zoccam is equipped to accept both Earnest & Option money in one easy payment from your mobile device. Ask your escrow officer for more details on our tools.