You just heard those magic words: “We have a deal.” Now, you just have to get through escrow and you can move on to the next stage in your life. That means making sure your home doesn’t end up back on the market. Here are 6 steps you can take both before you list and during the escrow process to make sure everything goes smoothly all the way to closing.
1. Carefully consider your sales price
If you’re working with an experienced real estate agent, he or she should have a recommended pricing strategy based on area comparables. Pressuring your agent for a higher sales price could cause the home to sit on the market and, if you do get an offer, the appraisal may not match the sales price. “If the appraisal comes in too low, the seller will have to lower the selling price or (the buyer) will have to pay cash for the difference,” said Investopedia.
2. Look for liens
"Overall title issues account for 11% of closing delays and may come to you as a surprise,” said Homelight. “Sometimes clearing up title is as simple as verifying that a debt has been paid and recorded correctly, the same way you would clear up errors in a credit report. Other times, addressing outstanding debts can take months to settle. Before you put your house on the market, be sure to pay off any debts, loans, and taxes that may show up as a title defect against your property.”
3. Disclose, disclose, disclose
Sellers are legally required to disclose all material defects in the home, so trying to hide issues can backfire. “Any problem with the property will be uncovered during the buyer's inspection, so there's no use hiding it,” said Investopedia. “Either fix the problem ahead of time, price the property below market value to account for the problem, or list the property at a normal price but offer the buyer a credit to fix the problem.”
4. Be reasonable and willing to negotiate
It’s easy to get stuck on your list price and not want to come down even one dollar. But if things show up in the aforementioned inspection report—things the buyer has a legitimate reason to request fixes—sticking firm to that price could cost you this the deal.
5. Limit contingencies
If you’re having trouble selling your home and the only buyer who’s come along in three months has two dozen contingencies, that’s one thing. If you have a couple of offers, with one who doesn’t need to sell their other home before securing financing on yours, it’s an easy call, right? Obviously the offer price and other factors like the overall financial strength of the buyer are important, but the great thing about having limited contingencies is that you have a clearer path to closing.
6. Stay friendly with neighbors
The last thing you need is for the grumpy guy across the street to make a fuss because of increased traffic on the street during showings, inspections, appraisals, etc. and scare off a timid buyer. Maybe the situation warrants a knock on the door of neighbors who have a rep for being testy. Bring a plate of cookie or a gift card to Target for their troubles and you may be able to pacify them.