The Home Sale: Securing the Deal

Ready to close the deal? Maybe not.

Sometimes unforeseeable issues arise just prior to closing the sale. With skilled negotiation where there are motivated buyers and sellers, most of these issues will be resolved. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Imagine that your prospective buyers are a couple with young children. They envision your unused attic as the perfect playroom for the kids but, before closing the deal, they request an inspection to see if it’s safe, and also if they will be able to install a skylight to provide natural light to the new space. This inspection reveals that under the shingles that are in good condition is a roof that will only last another year or two. The prospective buyers, not wanting to incur the time and cost of replacing the roof, want out of the deal. Their plans were to move in and only have to spend time and money renovating the attic. The additional cost of the new roof, they say, is just too much.

At this point, you have two options. You can wait for another buyer or you can sit down with the prospective buyers and calmly discuss the situation, and how it can be resolved. First, you agree to get another professional opinion on what really needs to be done. Inspectors are only human and are not infallible. If a second inspection confirms the need to replace the roof, both parties can decide together how to handle the problem. Most probably you will agree to lower the purchase price of the house to offset their cost of the new roof.

By negotiating calmly and looking at all possibilities, what could have been a “deal breaker” can be turned into a win-win situation for both the buying and selling parties. In some cases, the most workable agreement for both parties might be to cancel the purchase contract. These “deal breakers” just emphasize how important it is to disclose everything that you know is, or might be, a problem. It’s better to err on the side of disclosing them than to take a chance that a problem will go unnoticed.

To protect yourself against last minute “buyer’s remorse,” make sure the purchase contract anticipates and closes as many loopholes as possible after all known or suspected defects have been fully disclosed.

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