Buyer And Seller

Lots of people believe that buying a house is a rather simple process; possibly just a transaction between a buyer and a seller. This is rarely the case. There are lots of people and processes involved in Real Estate proceedings. Most Real Estate services influence both you and the seller - there has to be agreement on what specific companies you will use for those. Once you make your price offer you should have only the best Real Estate service behind you.

Perhaps the best way to understand the specific relationship between you and the seller is to try to see things from the seller's point of view.


When a person sells their home they should put it on a market as far in advance as possible before buying a new house. If the seller finds their new home first and then tries to sell their old house they might end up with two mortgages. As a buyer you can certainly appreciate the pressure and stress that your seller is feeling if this is the case.

When people move, sell and buy Real Estate there's something of a domino effect that takes place. Closing and moving dates have to be in agreement and people should commit to specific dates and try to stick to these. The best thing to do is if your seller has written down all the agreements about dates - that way he/ she will protect him/ herself and yourself as well. Some sellers will negotiate financial penalties if they fail to comply. As a buyer you can try to find out if this is the case - you'll have an advantage and will be able to be more in control of the whole process.

Every seller knows that only a home that is visually appealing and in good condition will attract potential buyers. This is a checklist that every seller should follow - you as a buyer should pay attention to it so that when you're actually looking at the house you're interested in you can ask questions about all these features:

· Are there any cracks in the foundation or walkways that you notice and that could be fixed?

· Is your lawn and garden well maintained, is it clean?

· How's the driveway - does it need fixing?

· Are the gutters, chimney, walls and the porch in good condition?

· Is the garbage and debris put away and out of sight?

· Are all the garden and lawn tools such as lawn mowers and hoses stored?

· Do the window, casings, shutters or doors need painting or fixing?

· How's the garage - is there anything that needs fixing such as the doors or the floor?

Preparing The House

These are just few basic things that a seller can take care of before putting their house up for a sale. You can put certain conditions in your contract as well, for example if you notice that the roof needs fixing ask your agent to find out if the seller would be willing to repair it before the sale goes through.

Sellers know that strong curb appeal (what is outside) will attract more buyers and will naturally get them to come inside the house where the seller has to live up to whatever expectations you have. There are lots of easy improvements that a seller can make to his / her home's interior without spending tons of money. If you notice something that could've been fixed easily but isn't make a note of it and follow up later with your agent.

Cleaning is one of the most important and unfortunately often overlooked thing that makes a huge difference. There's no reason why the windows, floors and bathroom tiles shouldn't sparkle. The air conditioning as well as heating ducts should be cleaned. The carpets can be vacuumed and washed. The bathtub and shower should be repaired if they're dripping, the squeaky doors can be oiled.

It is also important for the seller to remove all the unnecessary clutter from the basement, garage and attic - sometimes it's impossible to see through the clutter and you as a buyer will simply get discouraged about the house. All the items that would make some sort of a statement about seller's beliefs or a sense of humor too should be removed.

Lots of beautiful houses are crowded with too much furniture - the seller should put these away into storage because, again, they might obstruct your viewing. Some sellers will remove wallpaper and paint the walls as well. A really conscientious seller will set certain mood for the house by setting up flowers and making the house smell nice and fresh.

Oh, yes, the smell - very, very important! Unfortunately lots of people let their houses fall apart and stop taking care of things that shouldn't be difficult to take care of! A friend went to see a beautiful Victorian house in the country; the pictures looked great, the agent was hopeful that this was the house. Unfortunately despite the fact that the whole place was in a fairly good condition and there was a gorgeous garden outside of it my friend decided not to consider the house. The smell of animals was so powerful that the agent suggested that it might be impossible to get rid of it even if serious cleaning was applied and the walls were painted.

So-called cosmetic upgrades on the house don't have to cost a lot. The attention that one pays to their house will often affect buyer's decision.

It happens rarely but some homeowners decide to sell their homes themselves in order to save money and the commission that they are charged by a Real Estate representative. The commission rate varies - it depends on where the seller lives and which agency is available to him / her but it's usually around 5%.

If a seller handles their own sale they are responsible for everything: placing ads, answering phones, showing the house to buyers. This is usually a really bad idea because you as a buyer know that the seller is saving on an agent's commission and might be tempted to offer less for the house.

Closing Sale

When selling their home the seller should hire an attorney to represent them When you put an offer in writing and it is accepted the signed acceptance becomes the sales agreement. The seller's attorney will be present at the closing sale in order to protect the seller's interests; they assist the seller with the following:

· The exact sale price and the amount of the down payment.

· What is included in the house sale - carpets, light fixtures, washer and dryer, heating or air-conditioning utilities, draperies, etc.

· The possession date as well as the date of settlement

· Any contingencies to the sale that have been decided upon after the house inspections such as structural improvements.

· The attorney will also conduct a legal review of your contract.

· The attorney determines closing costs and what has to be paid for by the seller and what you may have to pay.

Closing Inspection

Unfortunately even though you might've follow up with everything when it comes to buying your house and the seller of your home has agreed to leave the refrigerator, the light fixtures as well as the carpeting in the house you may find all those things gone when you move it. Additionally there's a giant new stain on the carpet, the locks on the back door are broken. This could happen and this is why you need to have a final inspection before you move in for good.

A pre-closing inspection gives you, the buyer, the final chance to make sure that you are getting exactly what you asked for in the contract. Yes, you still have a legal case if you discover later that the condition of your house is different than what you expected but the best time to discourse is before the closing goes through.

As a buyer you will take possession of your house one to three months after you sign the sales agreement so keep in mind that lots of things can occur before the actual move-in date. Fixtures and appliances can break down, the doors and carpets can be damaged during the seller's move-out. Whatever the reasons for these things, problems should be noted and identified prior to the closing in order to have them fixed.

See if you can schedule the inspection before the closing goes through, for example the day before. See if your Real Estate agent can attend the inspection with you.

Take your sales contract - or a copy of it - with you and use it as a checklist. Go around the house with your checklist and check for the following:

· Are all the appliances in place - built-in furniture, fixtures, the washing and drying machine, etc?

· Test all the appliances to make sure they're working properly. Bring an electrical clock with you and test every single electrical outlet. Test all the electrical switches and all the doors.

· Turn on every water faucet and check under the sinks for leaks. Flush the toilets.

· Inspect the floors, walls and doors for any recent damage.

If you find that something is damaged or missing remark on it and tell your Real Estate agent about it. Usually the seller should be able to take care of all the small problems immediately, either by offering compensation for it or by making the needed repair.

If there are major problems - such as damaged tile floor that wasn't damaged before or plugged plumbing - then the seller should sign a statement that acknowledges the problem and agrees to fix it.

Even though the pre-closing inspection is time-consuming and seems inconvenient it is worth your time and money, in the long run.

Before Completing House Purchase

It never hurts to be over-cautious. There are few other things that you need to remember before completing your house purchase:

· Escrow and Settlement - this when you get a third part to act between you and the seller. Without having a third party being a part of the Real Estate transaction you won't know that you're still going to get the deed even after you've put the down payment. An escrow and settlement services will hold your deposit and will take care of all the processes that happen during the escrow period. Basically, instead of paying the seller directly, you pay an escrow company, which then moves the payment to the seller--only after you approve and receive the house the way you expect it to be. Both you and the seller pay fees to the escrow companies - you both need to agree on which particular service to use. Your and your seller's choice is part of the offer. You should ask your Real Estate agent to recommend the best service.

The seller may have a certain preference that you may have to negotiate in a counter-offer. Many times the seller and the buyer will simply agree to split picking the title insurance company and the escrow/settlement - both services are essential and splitting them between is probably the best compromise if there are any problems with making a choice that is mutual.

· Title insurance company provides you with an Owner's Policy - title insurance makes sure that you have a clear title to your new property. In case that there are problems later on you can always go back to the title insurance company and have them take care of any misunderstandings. Usually the seller pays for the Owner's Policy - it is probably a good idea to let the seller pick the title insurance company.

· You as a buyer too pay a fee to the title insurance company. This is called the Lender's Policy -- when you take out a mortgage, the lender will seek protection for their investment by requiring your title insurance against losses resulting from claims made by others against your new property. The Lender's policy does not protect you nor does the sellers title insurance policy protect you. If you ever need to sell your new house or refinance it, their mortgage has to be paid first before there are any other claims against the property.

· Finally, as part of your offer, you may want to get a termite and pest inspection. The company which you will hire for this won't only inspect for pest damage and infestation but will also check for dry rot and water damage. Again, ask your Real Estate agent for recommendation to make sure that you get the best service there is.