Timelines- You’ve heard that phrase “Time is of the essence”, right? Well most people do not know that it is an actual legal term which basically means that the most important elements of any contract are the dates & timelines set forth within it. So, make sure you discuss with your Agent all the timelines that are spelled out, and make a priority of planning ahead to stay within set time periods and meet deadlines. In a real estate contract, your Earnest Money may be on the line if you do not. Two examples
If you decide you do not want the property anymore because its just not in good enough shape for you, and your Inspection Period has ended, you may still back out, and/but will likely lose your Earnest Money.
If your Lender doesn’t get the paperwork in on time because of a delay in Underwriting, and that is going to cause you to miss your Closing Date, you may lose your Earnest Money if the Seller had a better Offer waiting in the wings, or for whatever other reason just doesn’t feel like extending your Closing Date. SO, when the Lender asks you for paperwork and you delay in getting it to them for the Underwriter to review, or when you fail to sign Disclosures and return promptly, and/or the Appraisal does not get ordered in a timely manner, you are putting your Closing Date and your Earnest Money in jeopardy. (***Note- This is a very good reason to make sure that you pick an excellent Lender as well. It doesn’t matter if its the Lender who drops the ball or if you didn’t get paperwork to them in time…. if you miss the Closing Date, you miss the Closing Date as far as the contract is concerned.)
Personal Property- Sellers must remove all personal property from the home prior to the Closing Date. The question of what that means comes up sometimes, and specifically with regard to things the Seller thinks that the Buyer would want. Things in the garage are often questionable in the Seller’s mind, and it is true that a Seller will often leave a few cans of paint for touch-ups and so that the Buyer can see what the paint colors are for re-ordering if they like. ***Not all Buyers will want the paint left, or the drawers of nails, or the chemicals for the yard, or the tools. If there is any question at all, just remove everything. If there are items you’d like to leave and wonder whether the Buyer might like them, ask your Agent to deliver a list to the Buyer’s Agent and find out from the Buyer!
Appraisals- The Appraisal is paid for by the Buyer and is actually the Lender’s. The Lender requires it to make sure that they are loaning an amount that is based on an arms-length transaction between reasonable parties that are operating in the realm of planet earth in their thinking. The Seller does NOT get to see the Appraisal in most all cases. Usually the Seller does not even get to know what the final Appraised Value was. As Listing Agent, I will often receive a call saying that the Appraisal “came in at value”. This means that it did not come in “under value” and no further negotiation is required. You can ask, and sometimes you will receive an answer, and/but know that it is often not divulged. As the Seller, the best course of action is to ***thoroughly*** review all comparable information on similar homes sold nearby and recently with your Agent prior to Listing. Set the price based on that data, and based on what you are comfortable with, and then let the adventure begin. A home is worth what two reasonable parties agree to sell/buy it for. Even Appraisals (should you have one done prior to Listing) do not dictate what someone would be willing to pay for your home. Having one done yourself prior to Listing also has nothing to do with the Appraisal the bank will order and have done by an entirely different Appraiser. The two will not necessarily match. I know of one home recently that was Appraised prior to Listing (and subsequently priced at) $50,000 higher than what it sold for….after it sat on the market for a long time and, I’m sure, tortured the Sellers as they waited. Look at all the data. Take time to think and discuss with your Agent, and become comfortable with your Listing Price. Then, let go!