“So, what’s the single worst part of buying a house?” I get asked something like this often by curious onlookers when I mention that I’m in real estate. Here’s my answer.
Real estate transactions break down into three main events: The negotiation, the home inspections and the sale closing. If you’re getting a mortgage, that would be an additional event and potential worst part, but we’ll stick the “big three” events in a typical deal.
The Negotiation: When buyers are ready to make an offer on a property, things can become very stressful and frustrating. The seller can be difficult and unreasonable (at least in the buyer’s mind). There are a lot of important details in the contract to be agreed upon, and each property presents unique difficulties when negotiating an agreement of sale that all parties are OK with. Many home buyers absolutely HATE this part of the process.
The Home Inspections: This is generally an early test of the relationship forged between buyers and sellers (and agents) in the above-mentioned negotiations. Inspections commence generally within a week after signing the agreement of sale. Many transactions fall apart as unforeseen issues are brought to the surface by home inspections – pests, mold, radon gas, septic problems… the list of problems can be daunting. Buyers can get very stressed over what to do about these potential deal killers.
The Closing: Being so close to the proverbial finish line, the settlement date can be excruciatingly long. The final mortgage approval can be delayed or derailed by last-minute complications. The final walk through, usually performed that day, can also present hard-to-solve difficulties. (In one of my first sales as an agent, the seller of the house had not moved out yet!) If the negotiations and/or inspections haven’t gone smoothly, there may be unfortunate negativity going on between the parties, making for a combative situation at the settlement table.
If you can prepare yourself to deal successfully with these potential pitfalls, you’ll be well-positioned to actually enjoy your property purchase. Of course, having a strong agent who grasps these issues solidly will be a big help as well. With preparation and a little luck, you won’t have a “day to remember” in your purchase other than the happiness of getting your new house keys!