Buying a home can be a very emotional experience, even when it appears to going smoothly. When something goes wrong, it can be stressful. Your agent will likely prepare you for the possibility that a pending sale won’t go through, but when it happens to you, it can be heartbreaking. Help prepare yourself by learning a few reasons that pending sales fall apart.
1. You change your mind. Cold feet or, as it’s often dubbed, “buyer’s remorse,” happens surprisingly often: fear of commitment, fear of being overextended, fear that the house is not “the one.” Sometimes instincts are correct, but often people let the natural anxiety of home buying wrap around the home itself. The best way to prevent this is to prepare yourself before the process starts. Be practical about your needs, and be honest about whether a house meets them. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into a home that doesn’t feel right. Limit your discussions about the house to your agent, family and close friends. More input and advice, even the most well-intentioned, can cause confusion.
2. You are unable to obtain financing. Sometimes a mortgage loan falls apart. That’s why it’s important to be prequalified for loans, to avoid last-minute heartbreak. The rejection by a mortgage lender can be based on a poor credit score or negative items on a credit report. A buyer in need of a loan can correct errors on a credit report, but this generally takes a bit of time. Buyers need to be wary about taking out large loans for cars, furniture or appliances, as well as making major purchases on credit cards. These actions could compromise your loan if the lender runs a supplemental credit check. A buyer can also offer to make a larger down payment, thus reducing the mortgage balance. If you are careful during the loan process, then you should be well on your way to financing your new house.
3. The home failed inspection. Hiring a professionally licensed home inspector can aid in detecting plumbing and electrical issues, roofing and drainage problems, or faulty heating systems. Repairs can often be negotiated into a contract so that either the buyer receives a credit or the seller agrees to make the necessary repair before the closing. Sometimes, however, your inspector can turn up something that is too large to repair, such as a structural issue.
4. You haven’t sold the home you already own yet. If you haven’t sold your house yet, and if your contract with the home owner is contingent upon selling, you may not be able to go through with the purchase. Most people cannot afford to pay two mortgages at the same time. Some buyers are able to take out a bridge loan, a form of short-term financing, to bridge the gap. New home buyers who have not yet put their old house on the market can save money with a home-equity line of credit. In this type of financial agreement, a lender extends a loan for a certain period, during which the collateral is the borrower’s equity in their own house. These two solutions can help you avoid the prospect of losing out on the home you want.
5. Your appraisal comes in too low. The lender will generally loan up to the appraised value of the home, so if the appraisal comes in lower than the potential mortgage, the buyer cannot purchase. At this point it’s time to negotiate. Either the seller needs to reduce the price to the appraisal value or the buyer must come up with the difference in cash.
All of these scenarios demonstrate why it’s important to maintain close contact with your agent throughout the process. The agent has weathered many sales and has probably saved more than a few from disaster. It’s much easier to go through this exciting and emotional life transition with a knowledgeable real estate professional at your side.