As you move through the home buying process it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and lose sight of things. Even when a deal looks as good as done there are still things that can derail or complicate it unnecessarily. Some of these things, such as mortgage approval, will be out of your control but others are well within it. Being unprepared or saying the wrong thing can jeopardize a deal just as much as a failure to secure financing. After all, if a seller has multiple offers then why should they accept an offer from a buyer that’s been rude or too slow to make an offer? If you want to secure your future home at a good price, then it helps to avoid these seller turnoffs.
1. Trash talking the home
Many first-time buyers make the mistake of trash-talking a home on the viewing or later negotiations. They think that by talking it down they can get a lower price. This almost never works with real estate. Homeowners usually take special pride in their home and if they’ve lived in it for many years, they’ll have a lot of emotional attachment to it. It’s fine to point out flaws that you’d like corrected for the deal to move forward, but try to be tactful about it.
2. Offering your maximum pre-approved loan amount
If you’re serious about buying a home, you should already be pre-approved for a mortgage. This is the only sure way of competing against all-cash buyers as it shows you have the means to back up your offer. But in their effort to compete against those all-cash offers, some buyers make the mistake of submitting an offer that exactly matches their maximum loan amount. This is something listing agents don’t like to see. It only shows you have no wiggle room for negotiations and if interest rates rise then you’ll no longer qualify. Instead, it’s better to look at homes that are under your max loan amount. In a bidding war, you’ll need some space to go up.
3. Dragging your feet
Buying a home is a big decision and it’s perfectly understandable that you might get some cold feet. But the longer you wait on making an offer, the more chances there are for someone else to scoop it up. If you feel good about a property then don’t drag your feet too long in making an offer. Aim to be ready not just emotionally but also logistically. Have all the paperwork – preapproval letter, bank statements, etc. – ready to go the moment you go out house hunting. A potential buyer that’s slow to make an offer or get the paperwork together signals to a seller that they’ll only be trouble later in the transaction.
4. Not meeting deadlines
Nothing will kill a deal quite like missing deadlines. They exist for a reason and a failure to keep on top of them can result in the deal being declared void and you lose your deposit. The first deadline you’re likely to encounter is the counteroffer date by which you must make your best and final offer. Failure to meet it means losing out to other buyers. Other deadlines you’ll be responsible for are making the deposit, submitting your loan application, and removing contingencies. If either party fails to meet a deadline, they can be served with a Notice to Perform or Demand to Close Escrow. Failing to meet those demands will result in the deal being axed.
5. Being inflexible
Deadlines are important but the unexpected can always happen. People get sick, inspectors find hidden problems, lenders add conditions to loans. When these kinds of things happen, you need to be open to renegotiations if the deal is to stay alive. If you still want to buy and they still want to sell, then it’s simply a matter of establishing a new schedule and negotiating changes in the contract. A measure of flexibility is needed here, which is something you should consider when first scheduling the timeline for the transaction.