We Sold The House
You've just signed the buyer's offer to purchase your house. Here's what happens next:
Should We Continue To Have Showings?
This is up to you. Depending on the nature of the contract (if it is contingent on the buyer selling their home; or the buyer's financing is less than ideal) we may want to continue to the show the home. But this is up to you. Many sellers feel good about the contract, feel committed to that buyer, and need to start packing so they don't want to accept any more showings. We will discuss whether you do or do not want to continue to show your home.
Receive Earnest Money (usually 2 days or less)
- We will have negotiated an amount of earnest money. Earnest money is a deposit made to a seller that represents your buyer's good faith to buy the home. My office will hold the earnest money in an escrow account.
- The contract details all the ways the earnest money would be returned or forfeited--talk to your attorney about this if you have questions.
Send Contract to Your Attorney (5 days)
- Your attorney will review and approve the contract.
- The attorney has 5 days to make any requests of the buyer to change the contract (except for price)
- The "attorney letters" may go back and forth several times with a bit of legal mumbo jumbo; but, just take the advice of your attorney. One note: sometimes these letters sound very formal, distant, or the tone can sound harsh. Don't worry; this is pretty standard.
- If for some reason, the parties can't reach agreement on any issues during this phase, either party can cancel the contract and the earnest money is returned to the buyer.
Your Home Will Be Inspected(5 days)
- The article below outlines all the details about preparing for the inspection. Please read.
- The inspection must occur within 5 days of contract acceptance.
The Buyer Will Start The Loan (10 days)
- Within 10 days, the buyer must apply for the loan.
- It is common for buyers to "shop the loan" to other lenders during this time, so we may receive a notification that the buyers have changed lenders. This is not unusual.
- The lender will order the appraisal of the home. Some lenders wait till all inspection items have been resolved before ordering the appraisal. In most instances, I will attend your buyer's appraisal. To prepare for the appraisal the home's condition should be pretty clean. Of course you may have already started packing, and that is to be expected, but the appraiser will take pictures of your home. Help yourself by making it look as "valuable" as possible. If you have a survey of the house, leave that on the kitchen counter (appraisers really appreciate that). If you have a list of improvements, feel free to leave those as well.
- We will not find out about the appraisal's value UNLESS there is a problem. In this case, no news is good news. We are also not entitled to receive a copy of the appraisal. All we care about is that it meets the lender's needs. Sometimes the home does not appraise for the purchase price. We have options to still close and we can discuss if we need to.
- Depending on what we negotiated in the contract, the lender must approve the loan either 5 days before closing or 45 days after the contract is accepted.
- If the lender cannot approve the loan in the contracted time, the lender may have to ask for more time. It is VERY common, almost in every instance, that a lender will need to extend this date even right up to the day of closing since they often will need to verify the buyer's employment just before closing. We will maintain good contact with the buyer's lender through this process to ensure we can address any problems if they arise.
Other Time Frames:
- Most likely, your attorney will order the survey on your behalf.
- If you have a well and septic tank, you'll need to have that inspected. Again, your attorney will usually order that.
- If you live in a village that requires pre-transfer activities, like a village inspection or final water meter reading, make sure you get on the schedule for that before closing.
A few notes:
- There will be lots of legal documents going back and forth between attorneys, lenders, etc. Don't get frustrated. Just work through each piece as it comes. We will try to make it as hassle free as possible--but there will still be some challenges. It is easy to get the wrong impression about the buyers, as if they are the ones being difficult. In reality, they are probably just as stressed as you are so don't read too much in to the attorney letters or responses that we get from the buyer.
- If something happens to your home during this period--the AC goes out or a tree falls, for example--you must make these repairs. The contract says the home must be transferred in the same condition. Don't ignore it. Call me. If we have ordered a home warranty for your buyer, you may be able to use it now.
The Waiting Game
After the initial rush of the first two weeks, there is a bit of a waiting game until the week before the closing. For all the info about what happens in that week, read this: