The average home spends anywhere from 30 days to 90 days on the market before attracting the right buyer. Buyers may jockey for position for several weeks before one pulls ahead of the pack and gives you a clear path to selling your home.
Even when things are looking up, don't drop your guard. Selling your home isn't a done deal until the closing day is over – when the papers are signed, the keys have been handed off, and you are ready to move forward on your future.
With help from an experienced real estate agent, you can avoid situations that might otherwise end your sale at the last moment. Still, it's a good idea to get prepared in advance. The more you know, the easier it is to avoid a worst-case scenario.
Let's look at some things that can cause headaches late in selling your home:
- Last-Minute Financing Woes
Nearly a third of all settlement delays are related to buyer financing issues. The best way to avoid them is to be sure you're dealing exclusively with qualified buyers. Sellers are protected most when a reputable lender has preapproved buyers. Preapproval means they can move forward and get a loan package issued within days after selecting a home.
- Title Delays and Defects
The title is the legal document that proves your ownership of the house and its associated land. A title company must review years of records to ensure you have the legal right to sell. Relatively small issues, such as a minor fine or tax obligation, can cause problems. Review and follow up on any debts that may have resulted in a lien against your property.
- Problems With Final Walkthrough
Early in the selling process, a home must be inspected from top to bottom. A trained inspector compiles all issues in need of repair. If there are any problems, the inspection report usually forms the basis of an agreement between the buyer and seller about what will get done. The final walkthrough is the buyer's chance to determine if all repairs are completed as agreed.
- Missing Closing Disclosure (CD) Form
Closing Disclosure is one of the most vital pieces of paperwork when you're selling your home. It outlines the buyer's loan terms and all the closing costs related to the sale. The title company or mortgage lender is responsible for getting the CD to the buyer at least three full days before closing. Agents from both parties can touch base to ensure it is sent on time.
- Closing Document Mistakes
Not all closing day document errors will stop you in your tracks, but some will. One common issue is misspelled middle names. The most serious problems crop up when unexpected fees are outlined in closing documents. To avoid these surprises, remember you can request to read all the documents in advance. That includes the Closing Statement of all closing-related charges.
- Last-Minute Buyer Decisions
Sadly for sellers, it's not within their control if buyers have a last-minute change of heart. It can and does happen, often literally on closing day. Luckily, you won't come out of it empty-handed. When buyers don't move forward, the earnest money deposit is forfeited to the seller. A larger deposit (and a down payment) tends to show seriousness about the agreement.
Early preparation lays the groundwork for you to avoid these six show-stopping issues as you sell your home. Connect with the right real estate agent early on, and you'll be much more likely to find a like-minded buyer, too.