Buying a house is a big, consequential decision involving lots of money and emotions. So, it’s not surprising that some people have second thoughts. The homebuying process doesn’t end when the offer is signed.
Sellers are anxious to get their house sold, praying that nothing goes wrong. After they accept an offer, they may think its smooth sailing. But it’s not uncommon to see a house go back on the market after a buyer walks away.
Sellers don’t want to waste their time and get their hopes up over buyers who aren’t serious. It is the listing agent’s job to screen the prospective buyers and analyze the elements of the offer.
Ready, Willing, and Able
One of a listing agent’s duties is to find ready, willing, and able buyers for their client’s house. Those three little words are important. When you’re advising seller clients about whether to accept an offer, look beyond the price and assess which offer has the highest likelihood of closing. Click To Tweet Consider how the buyers plan on paying, whether they have to sell their old house first, and which other stipulations they want.
Contingencies are conditions written into the contract for the buyer to complete the sale. For example, if the buyers cannot secure the necessary financing or the appraisal is too low, then they can legally rescind their offer without forfeiting their earnest money.
Any of these contract contingencies can derail a transaction:
- Sale of Buyers’ House
A buyer may use the inspection contingency to get out of a contract if they change their minds or find a house the likely better.
Buyer’s Remorse Warning Sings
What are the warning signs that a buyer is likely to get cold feet? Look for these clues before your clients accept an offer and avoid the frustration of having to re-listing the property.
Offer with All the Contingencies
A buyer who insists on including every conceivable contingency may already be looking for a way out. A contingency-happy buyer might be paranoid, excessively cautious, or less motivated. If buyers really love a house and are ready, willing, and able to complete the sale, they won’t need every contingency in the book.
Buyers View the House Too Little or Too Much
If buyers have only seen a house once before making an offer, they may be acting on impulse. They didn’t look closer at the details, condition, and the neighborhood. Buyers who see the house more than 3 times may be unsure that this is the right one or they may be chronically indecisive. They may also be very picky when they consider the home inspection report.
Buyers Don’t See the House with Their Agent
A buyer’s agent fulfills an important role for clients, assessing properties and neighborhoods, analyzing listing prices, and looking for expensive condition issues. If buyers quickly fall in love with the house but have not seen the house with their agent, they may later get cold feet after their agent educates them and brings them back down to earth.
Both Spouses Haven’t Seen the House
There may be some situations in which one spouse does the house hunting, such as couples relocating from out of state. The spouse who hasn’t seen the house may veto the sale and insist on getting out of the contract.
Buyers without their own agents may not be prepared or serious enough to go through with the sale. Also, sudden offers without prior contact from their agent tend to be weak offers with incompetent agents or unserious buyers.
If a buyer has just started looking and submits an offer after seeing the house once and getting excited, you may soon have a skittish buyer on your hands. Buyers need to look at several houses before even considering making an offer. They should view half a dozen houses, think about it, narrow it down to three, see the houses again, think again, and then narrow it down to one. Buyers who haven’t gone through this process will likely get cold feet or find something else they like better.
Selling property is not as fun as buying. It is more stressful and nerve wracking. Sellers hire agents to make the process run as smoothly as possible. A smart, experienced agent will protect her client’s interests by inspecting the buyers and the offers, identifying tell-tale signs of a future failed sale.
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