5 Things That Could Go Wrong When Selling a House

selling your house

You’ve finally decided to go through with selling your house, and it’s moving along without a hitch.

In fact, it’s going so well, you have no doubt that the old place will be out of your hands in no time.

While this is a good attitude to maintain, you don’t want to be too confident. A problem could happen between now and the moment when you hand over the keys to the new owner, and it might be something you could prevent before if you just knew what to do.

So, for you to be as prepared as possible for any issue, here are five troublesome things you might run into while selling your house.

1. Asking for Too Much Money

selling your house

There may not be a doubt in your mind about what you think your house is actually worth – but the key to selling your house successfully is to compromise.

Yes, you may have paid a certain amount for it, but it’s the market that dictates whether or not it’s appreciated in value, stayed in the same range, or fallen significantly.

If you price your home too high, you’ll end up discouraging potential buyers before they’ve ever even given it a second thought. That means it could stay on the market for months on end, and you’ll end up lowering the price eventually to try and stir up more interest.

So, listen to your realtors. Get an evaluation of the homes of similar value in your region from a comparative market analysis. Once you have a real understanding of its value and can price it accordingly, you’ll be well on your way to selling your house.

   2. Overlooking Important Legal Issues

When you and the buyer are finalizing the sale, you don’t want to ignore anything that could come back and give you unnecessary trouble just as you’re about to shake hands.

If you aren’t careful, you could run into legal issues like:

  • Forgetting to complete repairs agreed to in the contract.
  • Moving out of the property too late.
  • Misstating how much of the property you actually own or are including in the sale.
  • Forgetting final water/utility readings for the closing attorney.
  • Being unable to clear up liens against the property.
  • Failing to disclose hazards (lead paint, asbestos, radon).

For these reasons, you should seriously consider bringing a lawyer in to help you handle everything that might get out of your control. While you aren’t required by law in most states to have a lawyer involved in the process, you can absolutely benefit from the peace of mind an attorney offers. After all, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of the law when you want to be on the right side of selling your house.

   3. Inspection Woes

If you’re selling your house, one of the most crucial moments of the whole process is when you hear whether your house passed inspection or not.

An inspection determines once and for all (unless you wisely have multiple inspections performed) if your property is a safe place to live and tells the buyer if it’s a sound investment. In other words, you have to pass the inspection if you ever want to get that thing sold.

Some common problems that arise during inspection include:

  1. Not having a new construction inspected. If you’ve added anything new to the house that hasn’t been inspected, even the smallest additional plumbing work, you’ll be up a creek.
  2. Choosing the cheapest possible inspection company. These companies often have the least experience, the fewest professional affiliations, poor credentials, and can be more prone to error.
  3. Not listening to the inspector. If your first inspector points out some critical issues that must be addressed before selling your house, get them taken care of ASAP. When it’s crunch time, you don’t want your buyer finding out about that sinking foundation at the last minute.

   4. Title Problems

Another critical step is the review of the property’s title report. When the buyer, mortgage lender, and the title insurance company sit down to review the current title history of the property, they’re making sure the buyer can actually make the purchase without any hangups.

Some of these hangups (also known as encumbrances) include:

  1. Unpaid property taxes. Any delinquent tax payments will show up and must be paid prior to the sale’s completion.
  2. Judgments. If you, the owner, have any outstanding issues like unpaid child support or creditors who have gotten a court to pass a judgment against you, you have a financial obligation to take care of before the property can be sold.
  3. IRS tax liens. The IRS is quick to attach a lien to your property if you haven’t paid your back taxes.
  4. Encroachments. Any sort of boundary line dispute regarding the property must be resolved before you can sell the property.

Sometimes, these issues can exist without you ever realizing it. So, again, the smartest thing to do is to have a lawyer go over everything involved with the sale far in advance of closing.

   5. Going it Alone

selling your house

You’ve probably heard this before: if you want the job done right, do it yourself. Sometimes, this is the absolute truth. But one place where such a mantra should not apply is real estate.

Maybe you’ve had some prior experience with selling properties. Maybe you think you can handle it all on your own. Maybe you want to wait until the last possible minute before notifying a realtor that you’re selling your house.

Or maybe you don’t actually want to sell your house in the first place.

What you should do from the start is let a realtor know — at least a month in advance — that you want to sell your home. That way, she has time to plan for things like:

And, during the actual selling process, your realtor will be on top of tricky things like:

  • Acting as a liaison between you and your buyer
  • Answering questions of interested parties
  • Making appointments
  • Negotiating prices
  • Fine-tuning contracts

See? Selling your home can undoubtedly be one crazy, complicated process, with all sorts of obstacles that might slow the process down or stop it altogether. But now you have a better understanding of some of the worst things to look out for.

If you’re still unsure of how to handle selling your house, you should look for expert advice — and you’re in luck. As an expert in all things real estate, I can provide answers to any questions you might have related to the subject of buying and selling property, or anything else related to home ownership. Feel free to contact me today.