Thursday, November 19, 2015


Step Seven - Preparing to Close

Now that you have accepted an offer on your home it's time to prepare for closing. Your agent will lead and guide you through each step, but it's important that you make yourself as available as possible. There will be time deadlines for each step and it's important to meet them if the sale of the house is to go through. 

The Inspection - Generally the first step is for the buyer to have the house inspected for any problems. Once they receive the results they can choose to 
  1. Ask you to repair the problems found by the inspector
  2. Choose to repair the problems themselves
  3. Walk away from the deal
Negotiations will open up again at this point. If you are asked to make repairs you can agree to all, some, or none of the requests. Choosing not to make any repairs could result in the buyer walking away from the deal and ignoring repairs marked as a safety concern can cause problems later. Your agent will go over the inspection report with you and help you come up with a decision that makes everyone happy. 
If you decide to make repairs on your home you must hire a bonded and certified professional, you cannot make them yourself. The buyer will expect to have receipts to prove the repairs were  made. 

The Appraisal - Once the terms of the inspection have been worked out the buyer's lender will have the home appraised to be sure it's worth the amount they'll be lending. If the appraiser finds any safety concerns that were not taken care after the inspection he can halt the proceedings until they're addressed. This is why taking care of safety issues brought up at inspection is so important. 
If the home is appraised for less than the agreed upon purchase price there are a few steps you can take.
  1. Your agent can fight the results by gathering info on similar homes in the area which sold for a higher amount, but this doesn't work very often.
  2. You can terminate the deal, but keep in mind this problem will most likely come up again with the next buyer.
  3. The buyer can agree to pay the excess balance in cash.
  4. You can agree to lower the price to the appraised value. 
 Your agent may have other ideas or suggestions for dealing with this problem so be sure to discuss alternative methods with them. 

These are the two major events that will happen before the closing date. Once they're worked out you won't have too much to do other than be available. It isn't uncommon for forms to be misplaced, or for random signatures to be needed, so it's important that your agent be able to reach you for anything they may need. Chasing someone down while trying to get a home sale to close isn't fun for anyone, and missing a deadline can result in the termination of the contract. 

Friday, November 6, 2015


Step Six - Negotiations

Now that you have received an offer it's time to negotiate your terms. The goal here is to create a win-win scenario for both you and the buyer, not to simply get everything you want. Your agent will work with you to ensure you get the best deal possible in the current market. 

Almost every part of a contract is negotiable, but the most commonly negotiated areas are:

  • Price - In a buyer's market you may not get as much as you'd like for your home, but in a seller's market you may find your home in the middle of a bidding war. 
  • Financing - There are many different ways a buyer can find the funding to purchase your home, but you don't have to accept all of them. Discuss with your agent which loan types you're comfortable with, and which ones you'd rather not deal with.
  • Closing Costs - It is very common for buyers to ask sellers to pay all or some of the closing costs. Your agent can guide you with this decision based on the current market. 
  • Appliances and Fixtures - Sometimes buyer's will want to keep certain things you planned on taking with you when you move. They can always ask but you don't have to say yes. 
  • Move-in Date - In general, the move-in date is the day of closing, but this can be negotiated if it doesn't work for you or the buyer. However, remaining in the home after closing could result in you paying rent to the new owner.
Your agent will write up a new offer with the changes you ask for and send it back to the buyer's agent. The buyer can then accept the changes, or make further changes that will be sent back to you. This can go on indefinitely until both parties agree, or one party rejects the offer outright. 

Once an agreement has been made and both parties have signed the offer becomes a legally binding contract. However, there may still be some negotiations to come in Step Seven.