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Home sellers, especially those whose homes have been on the market for a while, are ready to celebrate as soon as they have a signed contract in hand. But keep a cork in that champagne! The deal isn’t over until the buyer formally takes ownership at closing.
That means there are still plenty of ways for things to go bad. Watch out for these common pitfalls:
1. Financing Falls Through
Most folks plan to buy a home with a mortgage, but they don’t all qualify. A buyer who’s pre-approved, rather than pre-qualified, for a mortgage is in a better position to make an offer.
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A pre-qualified buyer has taken the first steps in the mortgage application process and has an estimate of the mortgage amount he may qualify for. A pre-approved buyer knows exactly how much the bank is willing to lend him to purchase a home.
You’ll save time by working with a pre-approved buyer, but even with financing in place, the purchase can still fall through. The buyer and the lender have to make sure your home is a good risk. They’ll do that through an appraisal and home inspection—and that’s where other issues could crop up.
2. Home-Inspection Hoopla
Most purchase contracts include a provision for a home inspection. The results can nix a home purchase, but they don’t always have to.
Real estate agent Mike Duncan told us about a seller who failed to disclose hail damage to his roof. When the buyer’s home inspector discovered the damage, their insurance company refused to cover the home.
The deal came to a halt until the seller’s real estate agent convinced the seller to replace the roof rather than risk putting the home back on the market. With the new roof in place, the buyers were able to follow through with the purchase.
The moral of this story: Buyers should always get a home inspection, and sellers should never try to pull one over on smart buyers.
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The New York Times featured an article about the sale of a $2.4-million penthouse that almost fell through because of an eight-foot fiberglass replica of the Statue of Liberty. The cash buyer loved the statue and assumed it went along with the apartment, which she was buying fully furnished.
When the seller’s wife discovered the purchase contract did, indeed, include her $750 Lady Liberty, she told her agent she would kill the multi-million-dollar deal rather than part with the statue. In the end, the seller wrote a letter to the buyer, explaining why the statue meant so much to her, and the buyer let her take it with her when the deal closed.
As odd as it may be that grown women would fight over a fiberglass Statue of Liberty, petty disagreements sink real estate deals every day. Both buyers and sellers need to make the contract spell out exactly what will be left behind so there’s no confusion.
Handle Issues With Professional Advice
A real estate agent may not be able to prevent issues like these from cropping up, but an experienced agent can help you navigate them successfully if they do. Your agent is as anxious for your home purchase to close as you are, and they have much more experience in making it happen.
You can find a professional, high-octane agent in your area through Dave’s nationwide Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) program. Your real estate ELP knows your market and has the experience to close your deal successfully. Find your ELP today!