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2010-07-28 04:18:25

10 Ways to Keep Your Real Estate Contracts Together

Buyer's remorse. Appraisal problems. Loan denial. We all know the pitfalls of what can cause a contract to fall apart. Here is a list of 10 ways to keep that agreement together.

  1. Don't allow closing dates too far into the future. If necessary, a closing date can always be extended through an addendum to the contract. The quicker the closing, the easier it is to keep everything moving and all parties on their toes. If a buyer is in a lease and claims to not be able to close quickly, offer to pay the remainder of their lease or some other incentive to get them to the table sooner rather than later.
  2. Have someone (other than you or your real estate agent) who is familiar with your property (and any work that has been done) attend the home inspection. This helps to show the buyers that you care about your property and also gives you someone (and a more neutral, 3rd party) to address any immediate issues which could cause buyer's remorse.
  3. Before putting your property on the market, go into the attic, crawlspace and/or basement. Check for leaking pipes, animal infestation, unsecured insulation, etc.
  4. Keep your property maintained while it is under contract/in escrow. Buyers want to see their future home. They will drive by - a lot. Keep it looking as nice as it did when they wrote the offer.
  5. Have your attorney or escrow company run a title search as soon as you are ready to sell. This way you can be made aware of any title issues that need to be addressed sooner, rather than later.
  6. Don't be a jerk and don't tolerate the people who are working for you be jerks either. This may be the first time the buyers have ever purchased a house. Maybe they are in the midst of relocating. Whatever the reason, it is often a very emotional time for them. Bite your tongue and be the voice of reason - and encourage those working on your behalf to do the same.
  7. No matter what the contract says, you cannot physically force the buyers to buy the property. That being said, it is a good idea to have a relationship with a local real estate attorney who can quickly send out a "you might want to reconsider backing out of this contract" letter to the buyers if necessary.
  8. Be willing to open up dialogue when necessary. Look at the path of communication in a real estate transaction. As a real estate agent, I can attest to the fact that when a problem arises, sometimes it takes a seller talking directly with a buyer to work it out.
  9. Talk to the buyer's lender. Yes, you, the seller. Ask him or her point blank, "will you be able to approve a loan for these buyers to purchase my property and will you be able to close it on time?"  Instead of just being "the seller", you have now identified yourself as a real person; a person who has a significant interest in that lender doing his or her job effectively.
  10. Read the purchase agreement. Know what it says and what both parties have agreed to. Check with your real estate agent to make sure the appraisal was ordered on time, that inspection contingencies are being removed in a timely fashion, etc.

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