The negotiation is over. You’ve agreed on a price for the domain name that is acceptable to the seller. Now all that remains is to complete the deal, ensure that the domain name is transferred to you, and that the seller receives their money.
The following checklist will help make sure the deal closes smoothly.
If the negotiations have been prolonged and involved a lot of correspondence, it’s possible that the specific terms of the deal have become scattered across a number of emails. As soon as you reach an agreement with the seller, it is good practice to send a fresh email summarizing the terms of the deal:
Just to make sure we’re both on the same wavelength, I’ve summarized our discussion regarding the sale of DOMAIN.com below. Please confirm this email so that we can proceed quickly with the transaction.
I agree to purchase the domain name DOMAIN.com (for which you are the current registered owner) for a total amount of US$XXX.
I further agree to transfer 50% of the money ($YYY) in advance of the transaction, as a deposit.
Upon receipt of this deposit, you agree to begin the process that will transfer the registration of DOMAIN.com under my control.
Once DOMAIN.com is under my control, I will transfer the balance of the money within 7 business days.
By replying to this email, you confirm that you accept the above conditions.
I look forward to your reply.
It’s important to note that for larger domain sales, you may wish to seek out the advice of a domain broker or lawyer before proceeding.
You need to decide as early in the closing phase of the transaction as possible (if it was not already clarified during the negotiation process) exactly how you will pay for the domain name.
Generally, for larger transactions ,you should use an escrow service. An escrow service acts as a mediator. You send them the money and the seller transfers them domain control. They then pass the money/domain to the respective parties when everything has been settled. Such services are there for the protection of both the buyer and the seller.
Sometimes, circumstances will dictate what form payment you will make. For example, if you are based outside the US, you may not be able to write a check in US$. Similarly, a buyer may not be willing to accept a personal check, but may instead insist on a corporate check or banker’s draft. Additionally, if you are using an escrow service, they may have certain restrictions on the type of payment you must make.
If you are in a hurry to secure the domain name, you can suggest an instant payment system such as PayPal. With this method, you can send funds to the buyer within hours of closing a deal, rather than having to wait several days for a check to arrive and many days more for it to clear. Most sellers, particularly experienced sellers, are unlikely to go this route, but it never hurts to ask if time is of the essence.
If using an escrow service, which is recommended in most cases, the particular service will give you instructions on how and when to transfer domain control.
The exact transfer process will depend on which Registrar the domain name is currently registered with as each Registrar has a slightly different process for handling domain transfers. Nevertheless, the transfer process will usually take one of 3 forms:
Once the transfer has completed, be sure to confirm the status of the transaction with the seller. Remember to change the password on your account (or transfer the domain to a different account) if you had to give the seller access to your Registrar account as part of the transfer process.
If you are the buyer, make sure that you hold up your end of the deal by sending payment on time and in full. Once the transaction is over, be sure to send a final email thanking the other party for making the transaction a smooth one, even if you’re secretly gritting your teeth because of all the troubles and delays you incurred. After all, you never know what the future may bring and you might yet find yourself across the negotiating table with the same seller/buyer again at some point!
Before we finish this section of the guide, let’s talk a little about using escrow and broker services to deal in domain names.