Even in the best of circumstances, home buying or selling is stressful, and some of the biggest potential deal-breakers lurk in the time right before the sale closes. Home buying stress can be easily avoided, however, with the following five home buying tips.
Home Buying Tip #1 – Home inspection results
Today’s home purchase contracts typically include a home inspection contingency clause, which allows the buyers to choose and hire a home inspector to thoroughly evaluate the property. Once the contract has been signed, the home inspection usually happens quickly. Arriving with the buyer, the home inspector will go through the entire property for a thorough two- to three-hour evaluation of a home’s structural and mechanical condition. Home inspectors may also do tests for radon gas, check for wood-destroying insects or perform other services requested by the buyer.
Findings can range from minor issues calling for low-cost repairs to major toxic troubles like the presence of underground oil tanks, mold, asbestos, termite infestations, rodent overruns, and lots of dangerous lead paint. Depending on the severity of the findings (which, by the way, are only reported to the hiring party), there is either a new round of home buying negotiation accommodating the price and execution of repairs, or an abrupt halt to the home buying proceedings due to costly and dangerous problems.
Here’s a home buying tip to help sellers avoid these potential hassles: before you list your home, have the home inspection done. That way, you’ll be fully acquainted with possible issues and have the opportunity to correct them or, as several states require, will be prepared to make a complete and honest disclosure that will reduce your liability as well as surprises during the buyer’s inspection. This will lower unnecessary anxiety and allow a smoother transaction.
To find a local, qualified home inspector and more home buying tips for home inspections, visit the American Society of Home Inspector where you can also get acquainted with the home inspection process via a virtual home inspection.
Home Buying Tip #2 – Stubborn sellers
Combined with results of the buyer’s home inspection, home sellers not wanting to back down on price is another factor that can bring negotiations to an end. It’s no surprise that the seller should want to get the best price possible for their home, a factor that’s magnified in the current housing market. But being unwilling to budge after a home inspection reveals negotiable fixes can result in a bigger cost: no sale at all.
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“It’s all a matter of the individual,” says Ken Gunther, president of First Interstate Financial, a mortgage banking group based in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. “Most sellers obviously have a number in their mind, thinking, ‘I’m not going to sell this house unless I can clear X number of dollars, or I need to clear X number of dollars so I can move to the next property.’ As a result of that, there isn’t the home price flexibility that you sometimes need.”
Home Buying Tip #3 – Unexpected appraisal results
If things have gone smoothly during the home inspection process, another possible bump in the home buying road is a post-inspection home appraisal yielding a value different from the contracted price. How significant that difference is can again be in the eye of the beholding home buyer.
For instance, a home buyer who has the finances to manage the contracted price, wants the home, and plans to be in it for an extended period of time, but may feel that they’ll be able to come back and gain that value differential in a future market upswing. Meanwhile, another buyer in different circumstances will respond with a demand to go back to the negotiating table for a better deal…and the seller may refuse, ending the process.