Before buying a home or investment property this fall, here is what you need to know about your real estate contract and how to get out of it if necessary. Each real estate contract is unique and may apply to certain circumstances, so always ask your REALTOR® beforehand.
During Due Diligence
The due diligence phase in the home buying process is the negotiation period when the buyer can review the house and ensure everything is good before deciding to move forward. We’re in a seller’s market now, so buyers are competing against each other. As a way to close quickly and appeal to sellers, some buyers are skipping this phase and the inspections tied with it. But this is the easiest time to back out of a real estate contract.
After the due diligence phase, the only way to get all your money back is if a contingency is not met. A contingency is a condition that must be met before the closing date. They’re called contingencies because the closing is contingent on these specific requirements.
Contingencies are a form of protection as they will protect you if something is found during the home inspection, title process, or if the appraisal goes too high. Again, since we’re in a seller’s market, there might not be time to include these contingencies.
Another common contingency is a financing clause. The clause will indicate that the buyer will use all good faith to obtain a loan, but if they are not able to qualify for a mortgage, then they can get out of the deal with no consequence. This is why getting pre-approved is so important in today’s market! Sellers fear this financing contingency, which is why they prefer cash offers, even if it’s lower than their original price.
If everything goes right and you’re on track to buy the property, you can still back out of the real estate contract, but it will cost you money when it’s this late in the game. Part of what’s included in a real estate contract is how much each side would be compensated if the other party backed out. This is called earnest money. It’s usually 1% to 3% of the agreed-upon sale price but can be as high as 10%, depending on the real estate market.
Homebuyers will put this earnest money into an escrow account at the contract signing. This deposit will apply to the down payment or closing costs once the sale goes through. If the deal doesn’t go through, though, the seller keeps the earnest deposit as compensation.
There might not be time for these contingencies in today’s hot real estate market, which is why you have to be careful. Many buyers are waiving contingencies as a strategy to close on a house faster. With this route, it’s common for buyers to make up the difference if there’s a difference between the offer price and home appraisal.
As your real estate agent, I’ll help you navigate through this hot market. Contact me! Reach out to TALK Property Management– We are here to help: (512) 721-1094 or firstname.lastname@example.org.