3 Questions You Need to Ask before Accepting an Offer on Your Home

Your upcoming home sale needn't feel like a ten-year odyssey.
Photo Copyright : Alexander Raths / 123rf.com

Home transactions have the reputation for being lengthy and arduous. But your upcoming home sale needn’t feel like a ten-year odyssey.

Don’t get stuck between Scylla and Charybdis. If you know what questions to ask, your next real estate transaction should be smooth sailing. Here are three important questions to ask before accepting an offer on your home.

Is Your Buyer also Selling a Home?

With a home sale on the horizon, you’re likely busy packing boxes, scheduling inspections, and picking up change of address forms—Oh, and trying to find a new home to live in, while you’re at it!

Knowing whether or not your buyer is in the same boat is important. If a buyer has to sell his home before completing the purchase of yours, it could cause serious delays. (And if the buyer’s home sale falls through, where does that leave you?) On the other hand, if the buyer has already sold his home, he could be more likely to push you to close quickly. Are you prepared to deal with a hurricane of closing activity or the doldrums of delays? Can you be flexible with the closing date, or would that impact your next purchase? 

Your agent should be able to advise you on how risky this contingent offer may be. For added safety, ask for an up-front nonrefundable option (in lieu of earnest money), which you will retain if the deal fails to close within a specified time.

Has the Buyer Read and Approved Your Disclosures?

In your Beverly-Hanks Seller’s Workbook, you listed the special features of your home, along with some features that are best left below deck. From there, you spent time preparing your seller’s disclosure. Perhaps you have a crack in the driveway or an aging appliance that needs replaced. While less than ideal, these are hardly issues that should make or break a home sale—assuming the buyer read and approved the disclosures before he made an offer. If the buyer cast a low offer before taking those factors into account, you’ll want to know that before being reeled in.

Your disclosures may inspire the buyer to complete additional inspections. If so, find out what inspections the buyer wants and secure a firm timeline for them. You don’t want the buyer asking for an extension because he didn’t complete an inspection during his option period.

Has Your Buyer Been Approved for a Mortgage in Writing?

Underwriting guidelines have tightened considerably since the financial collapse of 2007. However, it is still risky to accept a buyer’s offer that hasn’t been approved by a reputable local lender. 

It’s true that full approval will only come after an appraisal on your home and the buyer updates his financial statements. But those two loan contingencies are a far cry from entering into a contract blind. If the buyer’s loan is not pre-approved in writing, you’re going to be taking his word that he’s capable of buying your home. And we know from experience, there’s nothing worse than getting your hopes up and losing valuable marketing time after a buyer is unable to get financing. A good seller’s agent will find out if the buyer’s loan has been pre-approved or pre-qualified so you can make an informed decision before accepting the offer.

Will You Accept the Offer?

Every home sale journey is unique. And while the questions above are not exhaustive, they should give you direction as you sail through the process. 

When you receive an offer on your home and have a tight deadline to reply, it is important to take a moment and review the offer along with these questions. Don’t leave your home sale to the fates. Take it into your own hands, and keep your licensed real estate agent by your side for support. Together, you are sure to secure a favorable outcome.

All real estate is local. In order to make confident real estate decisions, it’s important to have timely and neighborhood-specific information. Contact us today to speak with a Beverly-Hanks real estate agent about selling your Western North Carolina home. View all Beverly-Hanks real estate listings.

One Response to “3 Questions You Need to Ask before Accepting an Offer on Your Home”

  1. I’m glad you talked about the importance of taking a moment to analyze a house’s offer. Recently, my wife and I started to toy around with the idea of selling our home. We want to move into another neighborhood, so we think we’ll follow your tips. Thanks for the information on how a real estate agent eases the selling process of a house.

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