We all live and learn, right? I think that statement is no truer than in a real estate transaction. Every situation is different and unique and because there are so many different parties involved you’re never going to find two transactions the same. But, these three things are pretty common for many homebuyers to do and I cannot stress how detrimental they actually can be.
Any conversations or communication a buyer has with the seller, the listing agent or anyone involved in the real estate transaction should be documented and signed off on in writing if there is any changes to the contract itself. I once had a client that spoke to the seller unbeknownst to both the listing agent and myself as the buyers agent about the seller leaving behind a barbecue grill in the backyard. When the sale was finalized the seller took the grill with them. The buyer was really upset and tried to go after the seller for the barbecue, but because the agreement was not made in writing and signed off by both the buyer and the seller, this verbal agreement could not be upheld. I try to stress to all of my buyers not to have any communication with the seller or the listing agent or vice versa about the transaction unless it is done in writing, specifically if it comes to changes to the contract. Any and all changes, even minor ones, need to be included in the contract and agreed upon to hold any weight. We offer a promulgated form here in Texas that allows amendments to the contract but again, they all need to be in writing.
#2. Visiting the property at unscheduled times.
This really goes back to the contract; if it is not stated in the contract how many times a buyer can visit or tour the property, buyers cannot simply show up, knock on the door, or snoop around the property. I was selling a vacant home for client one time and the buyers assume they could just show up whenever they wanted to take measurements, go in through open doors or windows, or even bring over their entire family or friends to check out the property without proper scheduling or notification. Buyers cannot do that. Yes, you could drive by the property, take pictures from the street, or simply schedule an appointment through your buyer’s agent or listing agent to view the property. However, unless it is written in the contract, buyers cannot forcibly view the property any other times other than inspections and final walk-through is. Remember, it has to be in the contract. Sellers may have the right to a lawsuit should the buyer incur damage or they could terminate the deal altogether.
#3. Think the work is done when the offer is accepted.
Getting the offer accepted may allow buyers to breathe a little easier, especially if they have had a rough time getting offers accepted or finding the right house, but the work doesn’t end there. A lot can happen between mutual acceptance and final closing. The seller has to keep the property in good repair or in the same condition in which the buyer purchased the property originally and all final contingencies must be satisfied and completed. Contingencies could include financing, inspections, selling another house, or neighborhood feasibility contingencies. Getting the offer accepted is just the first piece of the puzzle. Nothing is finalized until final signing, closing, and recording of the deed.
Simply knowing a few of these things can make buying a home much easier. I can’t stress enough how important putting things in the contract can be. Changes can be made throughout the process but it has to be in writing and agreed upon by both buyer and seller.
Have more questions? Feel free to give me a call at any time or let’s start looking at homes in the Texas Hill Country.