Real Estate Deal Breakers

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Purchasing a home is a stressful experience, both because it's a huge monetary investment and because the buying process can be complicated and confusing. Buyers must be well-informed and have a good understanding of a property's underlying value before making a decision to purchase.

Once buyers select a residence that meets their personal and financial criteria, it is important to remain diligent until the property closes. Buyers should not let the home of their dreams escape over minor differences during the buying and negotiating processes. Here are some of the minor roadblocks you should recognize to keep them from ruining your dream-home purchase.

Prospective buyers should not let minor aesthetic differences hinder their big-picture view of their dream house. If appliances or the decorative theme are not up to your expectations, keep in mind that most of these things can be easily modified.

Instead of focusing on the way the home's interior is decorated, check for overall structural soundness and try to focus on potential. How do you do this? A good strategy is to secure a licensed home inspector prior to closing on your deal. The inspector will provide a detailed analysis and cost breakdown on actual required repairs. Depending upon which state you reside in, the home inspection can be part of the actual contract. The home inspector will assess every aspect of the home's interior and exterior. The inspection findings may be used as legal leverage in the homebuying process.

If the cost of repairs exceeds a preset dollar amount, the contract can be revoked if that is explicitly stated in your contract. For example, if the home inspection requires $8,000 worth of repairs for "structural soundness," but your contract states that you will not purchase the home unless repairs are below $1,000, you have legal recourse for getting out of the deal. Typically, you are responsible for the nonrefundable cost of the inspection, but most people are willing to incur that cost in order to save thousands of dollars down the road. The idea here is to focus more on the integrity of the home itself as a first step rather than your distaste for the current interior design or décor.

Sweat equity
Buyers should not get discouraged if a potential dream home requires some old-fashioned manual labor to get it up to their standards. Real-estate professionals refer to this as sweat equity: a time investment by the buyer to clean, redo and repair the property once the purchase is complete. Rarely are homes purchased that require no effort on your part. New construction is perhaps an exception, but a poor real-estate market can be littered with short sales and foreclosures, many of which are neglected, vacant properties. Also, many purchases are older properties with excellent construction characteristics that need some elbow grease.

Similar to the aesthetic differences mentioned above, taking advantage of resources such as a licensed real-estate agent or family and friends is a good first step. Agents are likely to point out things that can be accomplished by the typical homebuyer versus those things that would be better served with professional assistance or advice.

Financial differences of $5,000
Although $5,000 is not a trivial amount of money, it's an amount that should not interfere with purchasing your dream home. You and your real-estate agent have done your due diligence and research and put together a market analysis of the property you are interested in. You have done your part to minimize your price risk, but now that it's time to make a deal, there is not an agreed-upon price.

So, where can you find anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 to make your transaction successful? Here are some considerations: Look into government incentives for homebuyers. Such incentives may be used for down-payment assistance, which could essentially cover your price difference.  Second, ask your real-estate agent (if you are using one) to trim his commission. Asking for a 1% to 2% reduction in commission can be a good source of additional funds. Real-estate agents don't make anything if your deal doesn't go through, so they have as much incentive to keep your deal alive as you do. If none of these applies to your particular situation, you may need to be creative. Asking the seller to buy down your mortgage points is also a viable option. Check with your mortgage broker and get a quote on how much a buydown of one point would cost. It will likely not be enough to cover a $5,000 to $10,000 deficit immediately, but over a 30-year period will save thousands of dollars.

Remember that purchasing a home is a long-term investment. Remain patient and diligent and don't let minor repairs or a squabble over a small price difference ruin your experience.


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Ryan Smith
Keller Williams Energy Real Estate Brokerage - Pickering, ON

Great post! I really like the point about the $5,000.

May 21, 2010 03:22 AM #1
Jack Hughes
Hughes Appraisal Group Inc. HUD/FHA Approved) - Lehigh Acres, FL

Very good post. Love the sweat equity and $5,000

May 22, 2010 04:31 AM #2
Michael Collins
*ROCK REALTY|Broker|Realtor|Real Estate|WI Short Sale Agent* - Janesville, WI
CDPE, SFR , Wisconsin Short Sale Specialist Realto

Thanks for the post Rick, you make some good points.

May 27, 2010 03:10 AM #3
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Rick Kellow

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