Two deadly homebuyer and seller mistakes

Vicky Mirisch
Vicky Mirisch
Published on December 9, 2019

While selling a home isn’t quite the massive challenge many try to make it out to be, as with any process, there is always the possibility something may go wrong.

Our experience has taught us where these possible pitfalls lie so we’re pretty good at avoiding them.

Two in particular, however, are solely in the seller’s hands. Sadly, and either of them can be deadly to the successful sale of your home (or the purchase of your next one).

Here are two we see most often.

1. Not taking the seller disclosure statement seriously

The seller disclosure statement is something that the buyers can, and will if the need arises, use in a court of law.

Grab your attention?

Good, because this is one document to take seriously. Regardless of how busy you are, find a block of time to devote to completing it, in a quiet spot, where you can consider each answer you provide.

You’re not expected to know what’s lurking behind the walls of your home (unless you do, then you need to disclose it), only problems that you are aware of.

If you are less-than truthful, and something goes wrong that the buyer can prove you knew about, you may be liable for both monetary losses and, in some cases, punitive damages.

In some instances, buyers have been able to cancel the sale – even after living in the home – and the seller is forced to take it back and return the buyer’s money.

If what you fail to disclose results in injury or death, you may even end up in prison, on criminal charges.

Yes, it feels odd to disclose the home’s flaws to the very person you are hoping will find it flawless, but protect yourself and be completely honest on the seller’s disclosure.

If you have any questions about it, please ask.

2. Not understanding the mortgage process

If you’re buying a home to replace the one you’re selling, get to know the loan process. Unfortunately, too few mortgage professionals take the time to explain even the most basic parts.

A common misunderstanding shared by many homebuyers is that loan approval means they’re in the clear and, once the contingencies are removed (such as the home inspection and the appraisal), the home is pretty much theirs.

What they haven’t been told is that the lender will do one final “pull” of their credit to ensure that nothing has changed since they accepted the borrower’s application. It’s known as a “soft pull,” because it doesn’t impact the borrower’s credit rating.

Changes, such as applying for credit, will show up on this report, impact your score or debt-to-income ratio and your loan may be cancelled.

Until you sign the closing papers, don’t apply for credit, don’t switch jobs or move money from one account to another. Leave the financial aspects of your life exactly as they were when you applied for the loan.

As always, reach out to us if you have any questions on the home buying and selling process. We’re happy to answer them.

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