A home seller’s worst nightmare is selling to a buyer who disappears mysteriously at some point during the transaction. The deal never closes, leaving the seller in the lurch just before moving day.
Occasionally a buyer gets cold feet soon after his offer is accepted and backs out of the deal. This can happen if a buyer gets caught up in the frenzy of a multiple offer competition. When he realises that he’s in over his head, he regrets his decision and asks to be released from the contract.
Although disappointing, the damage is usually minimal when a transaction collapses early on. In a multiple offer situation, the seller may have negotiated a back-up contract with another eager buyer. In this case, the seller moves directly from the primary contract to the backup contract without having to market the property again.
Usually when a real estate transaction falls apart it’s for a good reason, and not due to the buyer’s whim.
Typical problems involve property inspections and financing. But with a good team of real estate professionals on your side, many of the problematic issues that arise during a transaction can be resolved. What’s the key ? Try to anticipate what could go wrong. By anticipating potential problems, you can often safeguard against them.
Buyers can avoid most financing problems by getting pre-approved by a professional loan consultant. That’s where a buyer can find out about the financing they need to complete the purchase before they even make an offer to buy a home. A pre-approved buyer has already been approved for a mortgage by the bank. His credit has been checked and his employment and down payment funds have been verified.
Sellers who receive an offer they like from a buyer who hasn’t been pre-approved should include a provision in the contract for the buyer to be pre-approved within a day or two of acceptance of the contract. This way, if the buyer is unable to do so, you haven’t wasted much time.
Even with a pre-approved buyer, there’s always a chance that the property won’t appraise for the agreed upon purchase price. A low appraisal can put a transaction in jeopardy. If the buyer’s agent does not have a good working relationship with the appraiser, it can be a good idea for that agent to meet the appraiser at the property armed with recent comparable sales. This helps to ensure that the property does appraise for the sale price.
The most common reason that real estate transactions fall apart is inspections. Buyers should include an inspection contingency in any home purchase contract. A home inspection will reveal material facts and potentially some property defects. Even brand new homes can have issues that may not meet the buyer’s expectations. If defects are discovered that the buyer can’t live with, and that the sellers are unwilling or unable to correct, the transaction can implode if other things cannot be negotiated to compensate.
Sellers are wise to disclose any known defects to the buyers before an offer is made. Most regions have seller disclosure requirements that require sellers to disclose material facts. A material fact is anything that will effect a buyer’s decision to buy or the price he’d be willing to pay.
In addition, home sellers should consider having pre-inspections done before their home goes on the market. For example if the roof leaks, disclose it. Then take the next step and find out what it will cost to repair it, and make the estimate available to the buyers before they make their offer.
The closing: The more information the buyers have upfront about the property they’re trying to buy, the better. This minimises the chances of the deal falling apart due to inspections.