The last thing you want to happen after pouring your time and energy into a real estate deal is to watch it fall apart in front of your eyes. But “sale fail” is all too real, and it’s becoming increasingly common. Trulia reports that 4.3 percent of home sales failed in Q4 of 2016 compared to just 1.4 percent of listed properties in Q4 of 2014.
As a realtor, the last thing you want is to become the victim of a sunken sale, nor do you want your clients to walk away unhappy and empty-handed. So, when your sale starts to go south, how can you reel it back in? Here are tips for saving a real estate deal that’s starting to turn sour.
Whatever you do, keep communicating! Use whatever tools you have at your disposal to keep the lines of communication wide open with your clients. Utilizing a CRM for realtors can help nurture client relationships from day one, even if the sailing is no longer as smooth as it once was. Make it clear to your buyers that your email inbox is wide open, as are your phone lines and office hours. Even if there are hurdles to overcome, the surest way to prematurely end a deal is by leaving your buyers in the dark on what’s happening.
Help Mitigate Delays
Sometimes both parties want to close a deal, it’s just that pesky delays get in the way. As Realtor notes, sometimes home sale contracts are contingent on other things happening first, like the buyer’s home selling or the seller closing on a new home before giving up their current one. To put it simply: Timing doesn’t always work out buttery smooth in real estate.
But not to fear! You can still save the contract at this point by negotiating an extension for these contingencies or “patching” over whatever is causing the delay. For example, say the buyer is ready to close on a new home but the seller can’t move into their new home for another two weeks. Perhaps your office could work out a way to include an interim hotel stay in the deal, ensuring that the contract still goes through but nobody is left scrambling for shelter.
Prepare a Counteroffer
Sometimes appraisals uncover different numbers than the original price set in the contract. If the professional appraisal of market value turns out to be lower than the price in the contract, you may be able to get the seller to lower the price to the buyer’s satisfaction. If the appraisal turns out to be higher than the original market value, the buyer can come up with the difference between the two to keep the sale in motion (especially in a competitive market where sales turn into bidding wars). It might also be a good idea to call on the services of another appraiser if you feel that the first figure was not accurate.
U.S. News & World Report outlines one case where a broker associate listed a home for $1.2 million, but the initial appraisal came back $200,000 less. Believing that the home genuinely was worth more than the appraisal, they brought in another appraiser who provided a higher figure. The home sold for $1.1 million, and the extra $700 that her clients paid for the second appraisal was well worth it, since they earned an extra $100,000 because of this due diligence.
Call in Reinforcements
Perhaps the “deal breaker” is actually something small, like a quick fix that turned up during an inspection. It’s smart to have reinforcements who can quickly and professionally handle issues that arise so you can keep the sale moving. Inman recommends having these professionals on call:
- Home inspector
- Mortgage lender
- Title company/closing attorney
- Cleaning company
See, all is not lost. Sometimes a real estate sale that’s unraveling just needs a creative solution to get it back on track.