Spotting the Red Flags on the offer placed on your home.

June 17th. 2016

There is no shortage of angst when a potential buyer puts an offer on your home and then starts re-evaluating their decision shortly thereafter.

As a Realtor, I have become accustomed to the nitty gritty of the psychology behind the thinking of a homebuyers decision that leads them to back away from an accepted offer. The problem is not just the buyers; the problem is also part of the buyer’s agent to properly inform the buyer on the formal process of buying a home. But let’s be fair, sometimes the agent isn’t given much choice. While these red flags that I’m about to discuss don’t necessarily mean a buyer won’t proceed in buying the home they put an offer on, it’s just I have found them to a prelude to an offers demise. So, lets look at some...   

Too many cooks spoil the broth; it’s an old saying but it couldn’t be more true when it comes to a real estate sale. The homeowner gets an offer after laboring back and forth about a price, they reach an agreement, and then the buyers call to make an appointment to see the home the next day or several days after the offer without scheduling an inspection of the home.  Some come back with a marching band, all with no shortage of opinions .This can include grandma and grandpa, uncles, aunts, cousins, the best man, the bride’s maids, moms, dads, in-laws, and the family friend Joe who is the De-facto family engineer. Yes this happens, and I call this the congress of offer calamity. Getting a unanimous approval from this panel is almost impossible and likely the harbinger for some unwelcome news about the offer. If you’re subject to this, don’t feel too enthused about this offers strength. Odds are working against this deal, though sometimes it does pan out. The reason, the buyer feels the need to reinforce their decision on the purchase of the home. Basically, the offer you just signed is subject to this congresses approval, even though you won’t see it on the binder.   Most homebuyers discount the fact that most of the opinion makers who are invited to make them are generally absent from the buying process, particularly when it comes to comparing the assortment of homes that were visited prior to the one the home they just placed offer on. Basically, there is little or no basis of fact on making a true comparative assessment as to the homes desirability under which they as homebuyers can afford. If it took 15 homes before making a decision on the home they just placed an offer on, what would make anyone think the people seeing just one home can draw an assessment on. Basically, the opinion makers are just working on theory and conjecture.  

The Filibuster...Basically, this is associated with long delays in completing the terms of the offer. I.e. due diligence like the home inspection or just plain lapses in hearing from a buyer after an offer is initiated; you can hand these red flags on a 40 foot flag post. If no one hears from the buyer after 42 hours of having an offer accepted by the homeowner, in all likelihood the deal, at best, is on life support. Same goes for extended time frames in which it takes a homebuyer to sign a contract. Provided that no issues exist, generally within 7 business days from the acceptance of an offer a homebuyer should have signed contracts.   The tale of the tape... Yep, this one revisit to your home after an offer is accepted is a classic red flag. Especially if the buyer who has been to the home several times, completes a home inspection, then suddenly before they need to sign contracts they need to go back into the home to measure the rooms. Translated, this revisit request means; we need to re-evaluate buying this house, and I’m/we’re looking for a reason not to. Logically, this is a process that is several visits overdue and it’s the timing of this request that makes all the difference. If the request is prior to contract, take one trip to the water cooler, because this is not a good sign. After contract, it may be a valid request, but it can still be a problem. A good cue is the nature of the negation prior to contract, the more tumultuous, the greater the risk. There are others of course, and a good and experienced Realtor® will sniff the nature of these issues right out. Ultimately, by knowing these issues, it will give you a sense of control, or at least give you a framework to work through if and when these red flags begin waving. While there are no absolutes with knowing and mitigating the circumstances that surround these issues, it will give you a greater sense of comfort knowing what they are moving forward. 

How to avoid it if you’re a seller?  It pays to tell your agent to inform buyers that access to the home after an offer is made will be limited to a home inspection. Next; that the home inspection will only be limited to the principals in the transaction with the possible exception of 2 additional family members. Now there is variables and risk losing other interested parties from pursuing the property once an offer is made and accepted. If there is a buying agent on the other side of the transaction they should be made aware, that all buyers complete the due diligence necessary prior to contract, including the measuring of rooms. Also, a home should absolutely continued to be shown to potential buyers until contracts on the home are executed. 


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