Make These 5 Fixes After a Home Sale Falls Through

By Dan Rafter on 11 September 2017 0 comments

The news is exciting for anyone selling a home: After months of staging and cleaning, after debating the perfect asking price and holding dozens of showings, you've finally received an offer. After you and the buyers negotiate on the final sale price and closing date, it's time to celebrate, right?

Maybe not. The truth is, your home sale isn't safe until the moment you sign the papers closing the deal. A home sale can fall through for several reasons. And if it does, that's a tough blow for any seller to take.

But a busted sale doesn't mean that you'll never sell your home. Instead, it's time to consider these key steps to landing another buyer.

1. Fix any problems

The home inspection is one of the most common causes of a broken real estate sale. The inspector hired by your buyers might have discovered a problem so serious that it caused them to walk away from the deal. It could be anything from foundation problems to a severely damaged roof.

To prevent this from happening again, fix the problems found by the inspector. When you get your next offer, you won't have to worry that they'll scare off any new buyers, too.

2. Adjust the sales price

Another common reason for a home sale to fall through is a low appraisal. The lender working with your buyers will order an appraisal of your home to make sure that it is worth what the buyers have agreed to pay. If the appraisal comes in lower than the agreed-upon sales price, your housing sale can collapse.

If this happens to you, it's time to discuss lowering your asking price. Yes, this is painful. Even more painful, though, would be having another buyer walk away because your home appraises too low for their lender.

If you can't afford to lower the price, you might have to take your home off the market until its value rises again.

3. Take a break

There are two times when taking your home off the market for a brief period makes sense. First, if it's approaching winter, it might make sense to take your residence off the market and re-list it after the coldest months pass. It is possible to sell your home during the colder months, but there tend to be fewer buyers in winter.

You might also want to take a break if your home has been for sale for several months. Buyers often look at homes that have been on the market for a long time as being stale. They immediately wonder why these properties haven't sold and what problems are keeping other buyers away. By taking a home off the market and then re-listing it a month or so later, you'll have a fresh listing. Potential buyers won't look at your house with as skeptical an eye.

4. Redecorate, repaint

If you've been offered any consistent feedback about the appearance of your home, take it into consideration. Maybe you've been told that the bright colors of your kitchen or bedrooms were a turnoff, and it might be time to repaint those walls a neutral gray or beige. If buyers consistently say that your home's hardwood floors look damaged and dull, refinishing them could spur greater interest from potential purchasers. Look at your failed home sale as a chance to refresh your home, making it even more attractive to potential buyers.

5. Hire a new agent

Your agent isn't usually at fault for a busted home sale. If your buyers didn't like what they heard during the inspection, for example, that's not something you can blame on your real estate agent.

But what if your agent pushed you to accept an offer from buyers who weren't pre-approved for a mortgage loan? What if that deal fell through because those buyers weren't able to qualify for a mortgage at all? You might wonder how many potential offers you missed out on because buyers didn't want to bother with a home that already had an offer on it.

If you think your agent pushed you into accepting a bad offer, you might consider making a break. You'll have to read the contract you signed with your agent. Usually, the contract will say how long you and the agent must work together before you can break off the relationship. But even if that time period hasn't passed, you can tell your agent you want out. Most will agree to break the contract rather than work with a buyer who isn't happy with them. (See also: How to Fire Your Real Estate Agent)

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Make These 5 Fixes After a Home Sale Falls Through

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