If you’ve ever had your home on the market, you are familiar with the multitude of questions you’ll get from potential buyers. Often, inexperienced sellers are thankful to get an offer that they forget to ask any questions of the buyers. When we are representing Austin home sellers, we ask the buyer’s agent a multitude of questions so we can gauge how serious an offer this is, if the buyer has been pre-approved (not pre-qualified) and how likely the deal is to close. When you take your home off the market and essentially “reserve” it for a buyer, you want to have as much confidence as you can that they want to go through with the deal. Here are the top 10 questions to ask before accepting an offer on your home.
Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Accepting an Offer
Here are 10 questions every seller should ask about the buyer before accepting the buyer’s offer to purchase their Austin home:
Is the Buyer’s Loan Approved in Writing? If Not, Why?
If the buyer’s loan is not approved in writing, you’re essentially going off their word they can buy your home. There’s nothing worse than getting your hopes up that you have a viable offer and then have to turn around and start all over again when the buyer’s loan is not approved. An experienced seller’s agent will find out if the buyer’s loan has been approved so you can make an informed decision about accepting the buyer’s offer.
Is the Buyer’s Down Payment and Closing Cost Money Liquid and Available?
We saw a lot of this during the dot com boom and bust. Buyers were waiting until the last minute to get their money out of stocks, hoping it would be worth more when they found a house than when they started the process. But, when the bust came, the stocks were worth much less than they anticipated and many didn’t have enough for their down payment. Make sure the buyer’s money to close the transaction is liquid and available.
Will the Buyer Provide Proof of Funds?
This is more for cash buyers. You’ll want to have some assurance they have the funds readily available to purchase the home. When you buy a bank owned home in Austin, the bank will require proof of funds for cash offers. Why shouldn’t you?
Does the Buyer Have Any Time Constraints?
This is important information so you know what kind of timeline you’re working with. Find out when the buyer needs to move in and make sure you can be out by that date.
Has the Buyer Read and Approved the Seller’s Disclosures?
You spent time preparing your seller’s disclosure and your agent should have provided it to the buyer. Find out if the buyer has read and approved the disclosures before they made an offer. You’ll want to know they are ok with the garage door that’s broken or the crack in the driveway and those items have been factored into their offer.
What Property Inspections is the Buyer Going to Order?
Find out what types of inspections the buyer wants and ask the buyer’s agent if they will have enough time to complete these inspections during their option period. You don’t want them coming back and asking for an extension.
Is the Buyer Flexible about Closing and Change of Possession Dates?
This is especially important if you need to find a house and move. Ask if the buyer is willing to do a rent back after closing. Usually rent backs are done at the new buyer’s mortgage payment (inclusive of property taxes, mortgage interest and insurance), though this figure is always negotiable. A rent back is preferable to an extension of the closing because the longer you put off closing the more chance something will cause the buyer to back out. Even though it may cost you a few dollars more, its worth it for the piece of mind.
Does the Buyer Have to Sell a Home?
If the buyer has to sell their home before they can complete the purchase of yours, you’ll want to ask yourself is this worth it? If the buyer is not realistic with the sale of their home, it could seriously delay the purchase of your home. We recommend to most of our clients not to accept contingent offers because there are too many variables that you can’t control.
Has the Buyer Bought a Home Before?
Some first time buyers are skittish and will be more likely to back out for something small whereas those that have bought homes before know certain items just aren’t a big deal. Its not a make or break question, just more for your information and to set your expectations.
Will the Buyer Entertain a Counter Offer?
Though the buyer’s agent should not reveal anything about their client’s motivations, sometimes they will slip up. Why not ask the question? Should you find out the buyer will entertain a counter offer you know this offer is not their highest and best offer. Maybe you could get a few more dollars out of them.
Don’t Just Accept Any Offer
Bottom line – get as much information about a buyer and their motivations before you accept an offer to purchase your Austin home. This will save you a lot of time, stress and even money.
Need to Sell Your Austin Home?
With over $250MM of real estate sold, we know how to get sellers the most money in the shortest time. To learn more about our comprehensive Austin home selling program, check out our Austin Home Sellers page. Then, fill out our Seller Survey, call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us at info@11OaksRealty.com to schedule a no obligation consultation.