(Continued from last month.)
By Gary Kelley
Last month I wrote about getting to an accepted offer. YAY! At this point you will be scheduling a home inspection and choosing an attorney.
The home inspection timeframe is defined in the offer and generally is relatively short. You will need to select an inspector and coordinate the inspection. You must attend the inspection. The inspector will go top to bottom in the house and report back on issues. You’ll get a large report typically by the end of the day. I recommend home inspections for all clients unless the house is going to be knocked down.
Water is the enemy of buildings. If a roof is leaking, it can provide the right environment for rot, possibly mold, water staining, and the list goes on. That’s just one area. Everything in a house can be fixed, it’s just a matter of the cost.
You or your agent should also go to the local building department and review the property records. You are looking for permits and permit closures.
Some people use this timeframe as a second negotiation. We tell our clients to go back for major structural, mechanical and safety issues. I once had a buyer ask for all new lightbulbs “just because.” I want to fight for the major items, if any.
While the inspection is going on, your attorney will be negotiating the purchase and sale (P&S). Your attorney can be the same one representing the bank (assuming a mortgage), saving you some money. While there are standard forms for this, many attorneys will attach their rider to the P&S. The negotiation ends up being around those items. The inspection is performed first so any changes can go into the P&S.
With the P&S a larger deposit (earnest money) is put down. If things haven’t come together nicely, don’t go forward with the deal. Once the P&S is signed, it’s increasingly hard to get those funds back unless a material issue, like inability to get a mortgage.
Ready to move? Not quite yet. It’s time to start donating and packing. If you are getting a mortgage, don’t change jobs or make a big purchase without first talking to your loan officer. The mortgage company may ask for everything you submitted again…. just keep your information at hand. Your attorney will be searching the property history for any issues. My daughter once tried to buy a house where an improper foreclosure meant the seller didn’t have full rights to the property. She ended up having to pass on the property.
As the closing day approaches, you’ll want to hear the words, “clear to close” – meaning it’s nearly time to sign. The closing will take under an hour and you’ll sign and resign a bunch of documents.
Don’t be surprised if once all the signing is finished you still don’t have the keys. The deed and mortgage need to be “recorded” at the registry of deeds. This can be a manual or electronic submission. Once the property is “on record,” it’s yours.
My favorite expression is “no roses until it closes” because there can be items derailing the process. Some banks are notorious for being slow, and so extensions can happen. Your agent can often give insight to problematic mortgage providers (obviously without badmouthing…just helping set an expectation).
Your Realtor® will be with you the entire way.
I’m not a huge fan of Zillow, etc. for buyers. Here is an app for your phone or tablet tied directly to the MLS: http://87778.mobi/REMAXGARY
We’ve produced BUYER and SELLER guides and will mail to you. Please send your address to [email protected].
Gary is heard on WCRN-AM830, every third Sunday at 8:30am discussing “All Things Real Estate.”
Kelley is a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist™ (CLHMS) and award-winning Realtor. He invites you to follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MoveWithGary/