Home Sellers you just accepted a contract on your home to sell it. Now what? Learn how to navigate all of the crucial steps of the accepted offer.
There always seems like this empty dead space after you accept an offer and sometimes you’re at a loss as the home is sold but you have all of these contingencies so now what do you do. 1st question I hear is when is this up when can I consider my house sold.
Your house is never sold until the day that it records. Sorry but that is the truth. Anything can happen between offer and the closing day that could mess up your contract. From a buyer losing a job, sickness, or to stupid stuff. Like going down and buying new furniture on credit and messing up their debt to income ratio. So with that, you do have milestones within your contract to start giving you some peace and some sense of accomplishment.
Your lifeline is your contract and I highly recommend reviewing it on a regular basis. Most all contracts regardless of the state have some form of definitions and some form of fairly clear language to outline the process. I personally use an electronic transaction management company that I upload all of the important dates in and it automatically sends me reminders to stay on top of everyone’s contract. I know that is not for you the consumer but you can do something fairly similar for yourself.
You do have some milestones on your sale that you can pay attention to and have a good feel for how your transaction is going.
Yes, I want you to read your contract! I know you probably got a crash course thru it when you signed it but now its time to dissect it and really pay attention to the details.
On your contract, you will have some specifics that your buyer asked for. Some of those could be your buyer needs to obtain financing, he wants to do a home inspection, title will be opened, towards the end the buyer is going to want to do a final walk-thru, your contract might have specific timeframe of when repairs would have to be done on a home inspection, it may specify when a septic has to be pumped or a well has to be inspected, survey etc.
So grab yourself a good old fashioned calendar and let’s start filling it in.
The first date you are going to want to pay attention to as you will need it for all of your calculations is your acceptance date.
Now depending on when you have the final signed around acceptance is usually different than when you have the original offer. Let’s say Sally Jane submits an offer to you on May 26 and you have 48 hours to accept it. So you wait that 48 hours in hopes of a better offer and 48 hours later you accept Sallys offer. Which also happens to be May 28th. So your acceptance date is May 28th.
Now if you countered Sally on May 28th and gave her 2 days to get back to you your acceptance date could be 2 days later or less. Your acceptance date in this scenario would be when Sally signed the counter offer and accepted it. Let’s say she signed it on May 30th just for our example dates.
You are then going to go thru each section of your contract and start adding in on your calendar when each portion of the contract should be fulfilled.
Your financing addendum section. It will usually state that the buyer has x number of days to get a final financing approval.
And that usually means that they got all of their information to the lender and the lender has had a chance to go thru them and feels confident that they can do the loan. There are still some moving parts in this that won’t be final until practically the end. Your home has to appraise it has to come in with no work required they have to still have the same debt to income ratio at the end and nothing better pull up on title so many moving parts but somewhere around that x number your agent should get a full approval on your buyer. Or proof of funds if the buyer is cash.
Next moving part is the home inspection.
Your contract should state that they have x number of days to complete the home inspection. So when you are calculating that number – let us use Sally Janes May 30th acceptance date -May 31 is day 1 if its a business day.
Read your contract here some contracts say you have x number of calendar days and some say x number of business days. Make sure you know which as that could make a huge difference of when the home inspection gets done and effect all of your calculations. Typically its business days but depends on the contract. Note if its business days you are going to want to toss out national holidays and not count them in your calculations.
This is a fluid section also as your contract will usually state something to the effect, For example, they have 10 days to get it done you have 3 days to respond and then they have 2 days to get back to you with a response if they are not happy with your response. So depending on what day you receive in writing the home inspection addendum repair request is going to start your day count for your response time.
You want to pay attention to these numbers say for example Sally sent you a big list of repairs on that home inspection and only gave you 3 days to respond. If you are going to need more time to say for example get estimates on a repair to decide if it is something that you can or will do then you need to make sure that your agent is asking for an extension of your response time.
I am going to warn you, stalling and playing with time here can have an effect on your whole transaction. Quite often a lender will not order an appraisal on your home until your buyer gets thru an acceptance period on your home inspection. Especially if there were some big concerns. So try not to drag your feet here as this is one of those crucial points that spooks your buyer. And an extra week delay could mess with your closing date.
For more information on how to prepare for your home inspection check this out here!
Any additional inspections that they are going to want to do from here add them to your calendar.
Be aware of septic pumping if you have one, or septic line scoping if you live in town, water quality tests well tests and any other inspection they could have requested from the original inspection.
Sometimes you will have buyers ask for something extra after the original inspection when it brings up something that they are unsure about. So sometimes those will have additional time frames. Sometimes they are addressed in your original contract and sometimes they will be specific to the situation. But all inspections should have a time frame. Don’t sign for something that doesn’t have a time frame.
Remember your buyer can walk away from a home during the inspection process so this is one of those things I will tell you to button it up as quick as humanly possible.
Usually, this requires a minimal amount of work from you but this has been the year of title issues for my sellers so be very aware of the title timelines and be sure when you get your title report that you look it over.
Make sure the easements that are on your property are the ones you expected. Look for additional liens that you didn’t expect. If you have a mortgage should be listed. Check the names on title double check to make sure it’s your house might sound silly but title companies make mistakes too. Be aware if anything pulled up against your buyer as this could kill your transaction if its something unsolvable.
Somewheres here about midpoint you should be looking for the appraiser if it’s financed or if your cash buyer asked for an appraisal. So when the appraiser comes thru I know in my market the appraisals usually don’t get back to the bank for at least a week after the appraiser has been thru.
So be sure to let your agent know what day the appraiser showed up as I speak for myself but I will follow up with the buyer’s agent or lender about the time I expect the appraisal to be in just to make sure we are good there. Don’t expect to hear what it appraised for this is one time that no news is good news. The buyer owns the appraisal and usually, you won’t hear anything other than that it is in – providing it came in at value with no work required.
Around the midpoint you should start feeling pretty confident you get thru the home inspection process get those repairs done should be a time for the buyer to come and inspect those be sure to note that. The appraisal is in. I always use that as a judge on the quality of our buyer. I have found over the years that most lenders do not order the appraisal until they are feeling pretty confident about completing the loan. Doesn’t mean things can’t go wrong but I usually consider it a red flag if the appraisal hasn’t been scheduled within the first couple of weeks.
Next major dates to be concerned with is the final walk thru date, closing date and possession date.
The final walk thru date is usually 2 or 3 days prior to closing that the buyer gets to walk thru and see that the house is in the same condition that they thought it was when they bought it. Things to watch out here is that you don’t damage walls moving out or have a new incident in the home that you didn’t take care of.
A good example would be a broken pipe with water damage. You need to take good care of that home all the way up to closing date. Usually, you should be pretty packed up at this point.
This is the point where the buyer will be looking to see that you are taking all of your stuff not leaving garbage behind etc. So if you were going to leave something and they don’t want it left this is when you are going to be hearing about it and needing to take care of it.
Your closing date is the date that they expect the house to fund and record.
That should be money day to you as the seller. You will have probably signed your seller docs a few days prior to that date and hopefully, you are pretty much moved out and on to your new adventure.
This is the day your buyer is guaranteed possession of the home provided they fulfilled all of their portion of the contract.
The home needs to be clean with all keys, garage door openers etc ready for the buyer to move into the home.
Generally, in my local market the possession date and the closing date are one and the same so if that is the case you need to be moved out and ready to hand over the keys when it records. Possession date is negotiable as is everything.
I hope this gives you a little guidance on figuring out your timelines it’s always a stressful time.
Especially if you are trying to purchase a home to move into at the same time. If that is the case I can’t overemphasize a calendar. Just knowing when you have fulfilled each section of the contract helps you to keep marching forward with some confidence. And don’t be afraid to get real comfortable with that contract it truly is your lifeline as you are trecking thru the home selling process.
Idaho Real Homes assists buyers and sellers in the Kootenai and Bonner Counties of North Idaho.
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