Sometimes buyers back out.
There you are, minding your own beeswax. You’ve tended your real estate, preparing it for sale the way a dutiful seller should, shining it sparkling clean, pricing it right, listing it for sale and before you know it, an offer comes in.
The bantering counter offers go back and forth and finally there is an agreement on price, terms and conditions. Passing a few due diligence periods, such as home inspections and condo document review and such, you anticipate being on your way to a closed sale in almost no time flat.
What sometimes happens next almost sounds like screeching tires: Buyer’s cold feet.
Occasionally, there are inklings up front, the paperwork is slow to come back, tons of questions which are refuted with documentation, budgets and such and then … then the call comes in that the buyer wants out. It’s not always malice on the part of a buyer, sometimes its circumstance.
We all know that any random day can be met with change when circumstances intervene. During the transaction, somewhere between contract and closing, the buyers lose their job, lose their spouse, lose their money, lose the contract on the home they were selling to be able to purchase the next home (domino effect) or made the fatal mistake of financing something else while they were trying to close their home affecting their credit. The list of incidences can go on and on.
As a real estate agent, I’ve seen it before and it never gets any easier to tell a seller. As a home seller, it can be like a kick in the gut when the buyer backs out or when a buyer’s mortgage doesn’t get approved.
Any number of things can happen and prevent a sale from going through. Sometimes there is an escrow deposit on the table for a seller to recoup and sometimes there isn’t. So how do you, as a seller, shore up a deal and try to get it as close to the closing table as possible?
• What a buyer and seller do or do not agree upon is disputable unless it’s in writing. While negotiating a contract, initial and date every single change on a contract, any little thing, even the bottom corner of every single page just to document what you have agreed upon and witnessed.
• Narrow the dates for inspections and financing approvals.
• Push for a comprehensive “mortgage approval” when there is a mortgage contingency.
• If you’re selling a condo, ask for condo association documents, budgets, rules and regulations, frequently asked questions and the application for the buyer to join the association to be delivered ASAP. There is a time period for buyer to review the condo documents by law and a receipt should be received for the delivery of the information.
• If your home is located in a homeowner association, disclose the fee and documentation to the buyer and execute a “Homeowner Association Disclosure.”
• Follow up on deposits, initial escrow deposits and secondary deposits. Ask your agent which exact dates items are due, especially contingency dates, and record them for future follow up.
• Make sure your real estate is active in the MLS until it is actually pending sale.
• Run the entire contract by a brilliant real estate attorney for a thorough review.
• Trust your gut. If you think the transaction is getting wobbly, address the issues immediately and either get busy closing the transaction you have in progress or get busy looking for a new buyer.
- - -
Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.