"Surprise!" is a word you might be okay hearing at a birthday party or other monumental life event, but when selling your home? That's probably one of those knot in your stomach causing words that you definitely don't want to hear. Since no two transactions are alike, it is possible to encounter a few bumps along the way. Some of these bumps may be uncontrollable but many are preventable when you have the right people and resources on your side. We’re getting candid about the 7 possible issues that sellers could face and more importantly, how to ensure they don’t happen to you! It all starts with getting the right people on your side.

Structural Issues, Mold and More

Buyers tend to get nervous when it comes to structural issues or things that they think will take a lot of money to fix, which can cause a cancellation of the sale. They can also get skittish when it comes to mold, termites or any other problem that could compromise the bones of the home or issues that they don't really know how to address. 

If the home has been occupied by renters and you are an out of state investor, or if you are selling the home for your parents as they transition back to your home or assisted living, or the home has been otherwise not occupied or not occupied by YOU, a preinspection might be recommended by your Realtor to eliminate any big surprises and to help you put a game plan together about how to address them before you go on the market.

Lender Totally Dropped the Ball

You know how not all real estate agents are created equal? Well, it’s the same for lenders too. If you just pick any lender out there, you might end up with a huge headache at closing time. If they aren’t thorough, your paperwork could end up forgotten at the bottom of their to-do list or important deadlines could be missed. Even if you aren’t entirely forgotten, careless mistakes such as failing to track down a signature, misspelling a name or adding the incorrect loan amount could derail the entire transaction and prevent you from closing.

It sounds harsh, but lenders can drop the ball more than you’d think and that's just because they are so important. Finding a lender that you can trust with a proven track record is just one of the reasons to get a Realtor early on in your home buying or selling process. A good Realtor has thoroughly vetted their partners and that includes their preferred lenders, and understand the programs and offerings they have available for both buyers and sellers. The lender is an integral part of the real estate transaction and a good Realtor will have a good one to share with you. 

Buyer was Pre-Qualified but NOT Pre-Approved

It is shockingly pretty easy for the majority of potential buyers to get pre-qualified since the screening process is not very in depth and depending on how thorough the lender is, they may just take some information over the phone to get them through the process. Just because a buyer says they are pre-qualified and are out touring homes with an Realtor, does not mean they have actual buying power. A serious buyer needs to have a pre-approval commitment from a lender proving they will back the loan and knowing how far along they are in this process is critical before accepting their offer.

Not all prequalification forms are created equal either so your Realtor should be talking with the lenders, vetting the offers, and using the state prequalification form which asks questions about what paperwork the lender has obtained. It is important that your Realtor does not take offers from buyers that are not prequalified. and that they place importance on the level of prequalification or approval and vet the offers with their preferred lenders when possible.

Appraisal was Low

When you’re trying to get the most money possible out of your sale, the appraisal process can be disappointing because the buyer has already told you what they are willing to pay and now you have to wait for someone else to validate that they are okay with that number. The appraisal can come back low when the appraisers have difficulty showing appreciation within a fast appreciating community where the past sales are lower than yours or in a community where the seasonality causes depreciation despite the tremendous value of your home. Appraisal management companies sometimes send a representative from out of town and they aren’t familiar with the area so might not understand these unique differences about your community or the value that some upgrades like an extra garage bay might have in your community.

To avoid this discouraging scenario, your real estate agent should prepare a package for the appraiser with the comparables, features of your home, values to any upgrades, and relevant market data and send this to the appraiser ahead of time. A good Realtor will also meet the appraiser at the property and walk them through the home giving them all of the relevant information and offering answers to any questions that might come up. We know that appraisers are just people so we want to be sure that we are influencing them in whatever way we can since we can’t hand pick the appraiser. A good Realtor takes every appraisal process seriously to ensure you get the most for your home that the lender will allow.

Buyer Wanted Those Curtain Rods

You might think this one is a joke, but it’s really not, and sometimes its these little things that can really put a kink in your closing plans. Sometimes, a seller removes what is deemed as a “permanent fixture” during the move out process - it seems like decor and something you expected to take to your next house but really was a fixture. Fixtures such as chandeliers, blinds, some lights, appliances and yes, curtain rods, are generally expected to remain in the home when the seller moves out and it is important that you and your Realtor are discussing the contractual elements of the agreement before you go on the market. 

To prevent confusion, it is a good idea to review the list of permanent fixtures with your agent again when the offer is made and you are negotiating your response, reflecting on what you discussed about what was staying and what was going. If you are planning on taking your refrigerator with you or those curtains you made for your daughter, be sure that it is all documented - down to the last curtain rod.  

Repairs weren’t Completed in a Timely Manner

When you’ve accepted an offer and it’s coming down to the wire in your home selling process, time is of the essence. If you agreed to a to-do list of repairs from the inspection, they will need to be completed three days prior to closing unless otherwise agreed upon in the contract. Ideally, you don’t want to be making multiple trips to the hardware store and rushing around right before closing day - trust us, it will be a headache.

Instead, you could hire a contractor for big (and small) repairs. Having someone handle all of the repairs not only makes your life easier when you are trying to focus on packing and moving but it can also help to provide clear documentation on the work completed and make the final walk through for the buyer much smoother. A good Realtor should be very knowledgeable about the best and most trustworthy contractors in your area and are always willing to help you find the right person for the job. 

Unsatisfied With your Agent

Your agent can make or break your overall experience when selling your home. Using your friend’s cousin might sound like a great idea at the time, but it could ultimately lead to some serious regret and challenges in your relationship if things don't go right. Your home might sit on the market for a long time without interest or you might not get the full value of your home and you might feel uncomfortable asking what is being done or how what they do compares to other agents because of your relationship with them. The agent you choose to represent you and your home should be knowledgeable, likable and tech-savvy among other things and should always be putting your needs first. Conflicts of interest like family or friend relationships tend to be one of the most common reasons that clients look for new agents in the middle of the home selling process.  

A good Realtor will couple great service with cutting-edge digital technology to make your home stand out to potential buyers. Having a team of agents ensures timely communication, a competitive advantage over individual agents who don't have the marketing budgets or support staff to provide you with best in class service, and a greater brand awareness and online reach to ensure that your home is seen by more people than with any other Realtor in the marketplace. Understanding how consumers shop for homes, what they are looking for in the aesthetic of a home, how to negotiate a purchase contract, navigate the timelines and ups and downs of a contract and help you with your move out plan are just a few of the exceptional characteristics of having the right team on your side. 

Trust us, we've heard it all. Have any of these things happened to you when you sold your last home? Let us know here and let us show you the Amy Jones Group difference when buying or selling your next home.