When negotiating a deal to buy or sell a domain name, I think it is important to set deadlines with the other party to ensure the deal is done in a timely manner. I typically set deadlines on offers, on payment date, and on the domain name transfer. This is important for me because I don’t like leaving things in limbo for an extended period of time.
Typically when I am selling a domain name, I will let the prospective buyer know the offer price is on the table for a short period of time. Depending on the domain name and my price, I typically let the buyer know the offer is valid for 48 hours, five days, or one week. The timing depends on a variety of (unimportant) factors to me, but I generally make this clear. I also let the buyer know the price is valid until the deadline or until someone else agrees to buy it just in case.
When I am making offers, I will sometimes let the registrant know my offer is valid for a certain period of time. I usually do this at the final stage of a negotiation rather than the beginning. It’s a bit silly telling someone a $5,000 offer is valid for 48 hours when they wouldn’t sell the name for less than $250,000! I do this so the other party understands a response is needed quickly, but I tend to be more flexible when buying than selling because I don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on the registrant.
Once I agree to sell or buy a domain name, I discuss payment and transfer deadlines with the other party. On the sale side, I typically conclude a negotiation by saying something to the effect of “I will agree to your offer of $x if you can pay by x.” I might also reply to a reasonable offer by asking when the other party can pay. That’s been a good way for me to not only ensure the funds are available but to also ascertain a payment deadline. Typically, payment is requested within a week, but that depends on the other party and sometimes on the size of a deal.
I require all transfers and account changes to be done within a week. This is summarized in the purchase agreement but not really mentioned in a negotiation. I tend to think that takes up unnecessary dialog since it’s usually a pretty quick process once payment is received by Escrow.com. Of course I will not cancel a deal if the other party is making a good faith effort to transfer a domain name to me or from me, but if they totally disappear, I want to keep the option of canceling the deal on the table – especially in contract form – so I don’t have funds in escrow for an extended period of time.
The payment and transfer expectations are laid out in the purchase agreement. I think it is important that this be memorialized so there is no disagreement about expectations after a deal is struck. If a deadline is too tight, the other party can request a contract change. If the other party is making a good faith effort to get a deal closed, I am sure I would not enforce the timing unless I felt I had no choice.
It’s important to be upfront about deadlines to keep expectations in check. I like to set deadlines and enforce as necessary.