It's one of the best phone calls I get to make as a REALTOR: the call that we've got a deal. It's especially nice to give that news to Sellers, since they're getting beat up just a bit in the current market. Be it a full price offer (yeah, they're still around) or a negotiation marathon, it's a huge relief to get that baby under contract. We all do a happy dance, the Sellers disconnect emotionally from the house, and we all look to move forward.
That's the sound of your home sale careening out of control and crashing. Home sales do crash, and it's heartbreaking for all involved when they do. I wrote a post back in January on how to avoid some of the most common pitfalls.
Prudential Fox & Roach did a study of the fall-throughs (home sales that never made it to the settlement table) in their Bucks County offices. I expected inspection issues to dominate the results, and they did account for nearly 40% of the fall-throughs. What were some of the other reasons home sales fell through?
7.5% Were Short Sales that never got bank approval.
8.7% were Home Sale Contingencies where the Buyers' home never sold.
12.5% were Mortgages that never came through for one reason or another. (Incidentally, none were from our in-house mortgage broker)
16.2% were Buyers or Sellers who simply changed their mind and backed out of the deal.
15% were "Other." Nebulous reasons lingering out there that can compromise your home sale.
Honestly, some of these things you can't control.
Can you control a Buyer losing their job, and subsequently their mortgage? No.
How about them getting cold feet? No.
How about them losing a spouse, child, mother or father and deciding they just can't deal with buying a home? Nope.
What you need to do is control the things you can. Get your U&O early. Jump on any title issues that crop up. Make sure you want to move before you list your house. Be emotionally ready to let your home go. Make sure you take care of your own side of the deal, and reduce your chances of a failed settlement by 50%.
Have your Realtor touch base with everyone involved in the transaction...frequently. A little email nagging never hurt anyone, and often will catch little problems before they careen out of control. Get involved in solutions. There is no "not my job" in getting a deal to the settlement table. The Buyer needs some documentation for their mortgage company? I'm getting it, if their agent isn't. I'm making sure it gets done so that it doesn't impact MY Seller's chances of closing the deal.
Sometimes, through sheer force of will (and creative team playing) you can get control of the car and get it back on the road to settlement.