1. EXCLUSIONS: As a seller, you need to make it clear which furnishings and fixtures come with your house and which don't. You should disclose these items when you show your house, or remove them beforehand. These days, wall-mounted TVs seem to be causing an overabundance of disputes. Don't let the deal fall apart over a TV or a chandelier!
2. FAILURE TO DISCLOSE: In relation to deal breaker number one when in doubt, DISCLOSE IT, and the earlier the better. A problem will seem much bigger to a buyer when they have discovered it on their own or are already under contract.
3. APPRAISAL: The days when a home always appraised for the contract price are gone. Sometimes the appraisal comes in "short," and this can be a deal breaker.
4. SURVEY: As you approach closing, you might get your survey back only to find out that your fence stretches 5 feet into your neighbor's property, marking your lot short of the 7,000 square-feet your buyer desired. Know your boundary lines! Many contracts call for a survey 3 days prior to closing, but you should have the buyer order the survey when they order the appraisal. Don't wait! If you take care of this in advance, you'll have time to work out a solution.
5. INSPECTIONS: Most inspectors call it like it is. Sometimes your buyer will want you to fix every single potential problem that your inspector sees. You don't have to do this! You both have choices.
Your buyer has four basic choices after the inspector report. The buyer can:
- Ask you to make their requested repairs
- Ask you to reduce the sales price in lieu of repairs
- Request no repairs at all
- Decline to buy the property
They can't force you to make repairs, but they do hold the ultimate power of walking away from the sale if they can't live with the decision of your repairs.
As the seller, you have three choices. You can:
- Agree to the buyer's request and make all of the repairs
- Agree to part of the request and make some of the repairs, or create an allowance for the repairs and stipulate in the contract, "the house is being sold 'as is'"
- Agree to make no repairs or credits at all