Don’t Let Surprises Ruin the Deal

The home buyers might love the house, but they hate last-moment surprises that tell them something new about the transaction.

Those unwelcome surprises may include discoveries they didn’t know when they made the offer. They often find out new information about the property and its condition, the neighborhood and even some things they should have known, such as deal-stoppers about how much they can afford to pay or even the price to which they had agreed.

Sometimes a transaction goes down the drain simply because the buyers couldn’t get the loan they needed to complete the purchase. A proactive sales associate knows that mortgage pre-approval can be accomplished within a day or two, and ideally should make sure it’s done before an offer is made. Pre-approved buyers won’t be surprised because they know they are credit worthy and how much they can afford to pay.

It’s tempting to sellers, especially those whose homes have been languishing on the market, to accept any offer. However, they should consider the further time lost if the home is taken off the market because of an under qualified buyer.

The seller, under the direction of the sales associate, should counter an offer from such potentially unqualified buyers with the condition that they provide a pre-approval letter at acceptance. Give them a couple of days to respond.

Often home-sale transactions go down the tubes because the buyers receive negative information about the property after they are in contract to buy. Sellers can avoid this sort of deal killer by disclosing information to buyers before they make an offer.

According to Dian Hymer*, the seller should move from the house in a timely manner. Don’t surprise the buyers by greeting them at the door on the day of the closing. Some sellers like the comfort of living in their homes awhile before moving on. Yet, with the finality of a closed sale comes money in the bank.

* Dian Hymer is author of “House Hunting, The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers” and “Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer’s Guide,” Chronicle Books.

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