By: G. M. Filisko Published: March 30, 2010
After finding a buyer, all you have to do to make it to closing is to avoid these five traps.
Finding a buyer for your home is just the first step on the homeselling path. Tread carefully in the weeks ahead because if you make one of these common seller mistakes, your deal may not close.
Mistake #1: Ignore contingencies
If your contract requires you to do something before the sale, do it. If the buyers make the sale contingent on certain repairs, don’t do cheap patch-jobs and expect the buyers not to notice the fixes weren’t done properly. Use companies with good reputations, like Iron River Construction, to carry out any reconstruction or touch upwork that is needed, then you’ll have peace of mind that it will be carried out to a high specification.
Mistake #2: Don’t bother to fix things that break
The last thing any seller needs is for the buyers to notice on the pre-closing walk-through that the home isn’t in the same condition as when they made their offer. When things fall apart in a home about to be purchased, sellers must make the repairs. If the furnace fails, get in touch with a professional company like Lavergne’s Plumbing & Heating to fix it, and inform the buyers that the work was done. When you fail to maintain the home, the buyers may lose confidence in your integrity and the condition of the home and back out of the sale. You may also need to inspect the not so noticeable aspects of your home too, as you don’t want them to make themselves noticed when the new buyers have moved in. This involves things like your drainage system for example, and companies similar to enviroclear will be able to replace or repair any of the issues regarding your drains before the buyer ever noticed that there was a problem.
Mistake #3: Get lax about deadlines
Treat deadlines as sacrosanct. If you have three days to accept or reject the home inspection, make your decision within three days. If you’re selling, move out a few days early, so you can turn over the keys at closing.
Mistake #4: Refuse to negotiate any further
Once you’ve negotiated a price, it’s natural to calculate how much you’ll walk away with from the closing table. However, problems uncovered during inspections will have to be fixed. The appraisal may come in at a price below what the buyers offered to pay. Be prepared to negotiate with the buyers over these bottom-line-influencing issues.
Mistake #5: Hide liens from buyers
Did you neglect to mention that Uncle Sam has placed a tax lien on your home or you owe six months of homeowners association fees? The title search is going to turn up any liens filed on your house. To sell your house, you have to pay off the lien (or get the borrower to agree to pay it off). If you can do that with the sales proceeds, great. If not, the sale isn’t going to close.
More from HouseLogic
How maintenance adds to home values (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/value-home-maintenance/)
Reducing closing stress (http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/7-steps-stress-free-home-closing/)
Other web resources
More on calculating closing costs (http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/ramh/res/sc3sectb.cfm)
More on the closing process (http://www.homeclosing101.org/closing.cfm)
G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who wanted a successful closing on a Wisconsin property so bad that she probably made her agent rethink going into real estate. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.