As the spring home buying market kicks into high gear, house hunters may be mostly focused on lining up their financing and finding a place to purchase.
While affordability and availability are two important aspects of the process, Dana Bull, a real estate agent with Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty in Marblehead, Mass., points out other common issues that buyers may face:
1. Missed deadlines: Your purchase contract will have multiple dates and milestones to meet, such as inspection deadlines and financing deadlines. Your real estate agent can help you orchestrate the parties involved and keep you on target.
“If you do miss a deadline, get an extension in writing and be sure to document and record any details around changes to the timeline,” Bull said in an email.
2. Home inspection woes: A variety of issues can be uncovered during a home inspection. Depending on your contract, you’ll need to decide whether you want to negotiate with the sellers or walk away from the house. Bull recommends buyers schedule their inspection as early as possible, to give yourself added time to investigate how you would remedy the issues that come up and get opinions and advice from professionals to make a sound decision.
3. Low appraisal: If a home doesn’t appraise at or above your proposed purchase price, your financing could fall apart. In hot markets in which bidding wars are the norm, low appraisals can crop up, Bull said. Solutions include negotiating a reduced price, covering the difference out of pocket or reconfiguring your financing, she said.
4. Mortgage glitches: A mortgage preapproval is a commitment, but that doesn’t mean your loan is guaranteed. “Financing can go sideways if your FICO score tanks or you switch employers mid-transaction,” Bull said. “The best approach is to maintain your current financial situation and keep your lender informed should any changes in spending or income occur.”