Real Estate Tips: The Excitement of Being "Under Contract"

Dated: February 1 2018

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Real Estate Contract

Maybe you’re a seller who has waited months for the perfect buyer for your home and they finally appeared.  Or perhaps you looked diligently for months to find your perfect home in the mountains and “the one” finally came on the market so you nabbed it. You’ve negotiated agreeable terms and now have an executed contract. With great enthusiasm you look forward to the process of moving toward closing.  With good reason you’re excited!  But wait . . . there’s a due diligence period during which the buyer has every opportunity to have the home inspected inside and out, secure financing if needed, and solidify their intent to proceed with the purchase, or not.

In any real estate transaction you can expect at least a little turbulence along the way. This will first arise during the negotiation of terms of the contract: purchase price, duration of due diligence period, closing date, and any requests for personal property to be included that the seller hadn’t planned on leaving.  The next and most certain occurrence of turbulence is all the events that will happen during the due diligence period: home inspections (including radon, septic and anything else the buyer wants checked) and negotiation of any repairs requested, glitches with buyer’s loan approval, a delay in the appraisal being returned or having to delay the closing date for reasons beyond either party’s or their broker’s control.

The best way to handle issues that arise during the process is to stay calm, be realistic and remember the goal! Buyers and sellers frequently place different value on different features of the property – what one felt was the best decorating idea they ever had, the other will think it’s exactly what they didn’t want (but they’re willing to overlook that). Or there’s a difference of opinion on what repairs are “absolutely necessary”.  Or the inspection reveals an issue that was completely unexpected but now becomes a material fact if not taken care of. A septic tank under concrete that would be challenging to have cleaned out, a buried oil tank that nobody knew existed discovered during an attempt to locate a septic tank, a crack in the pipe between a pump and the uphill tank discovered during a septic inspection or rotted wood visible only from a thorough inspection of the crawl space are some recent real-life examples.  You’ve not only had to negotiate the contract but now face having to negotiate the requested repair list and determine whether the seller will make the repairs or offer a concession, or the buyers will accept the property without any or all repairs. Until the end of the due diligence period the buyer has a right to terminate the contract and have the earnest money returned. 

With skillful negotiation and reasonable expectations from all parties to the transaction, almost anything can be satisfactorily resolved to reach the goal: a successful closing!

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Julie McKinney

A native of northwestern Pennsylvania, I have proudly called North Carolina home since 1985. Having experienced city life in Greensboro and Charlotte, I permanently relocated to beautiful Lake Lure in....

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