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How to Avoid a Sale Fail

Updated: Nov 22, 2019

Ready to close the deal? Maybe not.

Sometimes unforeseeable issues arise just prior to closing and the sale is about to fail. But don't panic. Through negotiation, many of these crises have a workable solution.

Imagine, when you're a seller, that your prospective buyers are a couple with young children. They envision your unused attic as the perfect playroom for the kids but, before closing the deal, they request an inspection to see if it's safe for expansion. This inspection reveals that the expansion will require a new roof. The prospective buyers immediately balk, not wanting to incur the cost of the roof replacement. Their plans were to move in and only have to spend time and money renovating the attic. The additional cost of the new roof, they say, is just too much.

At this point, your Realtor sits down with the prospective buyers' agent and calmly discusses the situation and how it can be solved to benefit everyone:

  1. You agree to get another professional opinion on what really needs to be done. Remember: inspectors are only human, and are not infallible.

  2. Once the facts are in, you can jointly decide what to do about it. While the buyers hadn't planned on that expense, you show them that instead of a limited roof life that they would get with most existing homes, they'll have a new worry-free roof.

  3. Since the roof was nearing the end of its life anyway, and to preserve the sale, you agree to lower the purchase price to help offset the cost of the new roof.

By negotiating calmly and looking at all possibilities, what could have been a "deal breaker" can be turned into a win-win situation for both parties.

In some cases, the most workable agreement for both parties might be for the deal to be called off- the seller can always find another buyer and the buyer can always find another home.

One last thing...

To protect yourself against last minute "buyer's remorse," make sure the purchase contract anticipates and closes as many loopholes as possible after all known defects have been fully disclosed. Once you've removed your inspection contingency, it's too late to find a problem that is considered a "deal-breaker," unless you're willing to walk away from your earnest money.

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