I am a freelance copywriter who happens to work with many real estate agents. This is my experience selling and purchasing my third home.
After the rushing to list and sell our Kentucky house while searching and buying our new house four hours away, we entered transaction purgatory. It’s that weird space between contracts when “stuff” is happening, but mostly it’s out of your control. Who handled the pending period better: the seller agent or the buyer agent?
The Pending Sale
Remember, we sold during the holiday season: Thanksgiving and Christmas with a close date after the New Year. We expected a lot of coming and going at weird times with people being out of holiday.
Our agent communicated well when it came to scheduling the buyer’s home inspection, termite inspection, and appraisal. The appraiser actually showed up two hours early because they happened to be doing an appraisal around the corner. I let them in. I was shocked by how little they actually did. She was in and out within five minutes. That was an eye-opening learning experience for me. The termite inspection was very similar.
The appraisal and home inspection raised no concerns. Our contract stipulated the buyer could not negotiate based on the home inspection, simply say yes or no to continuing the purchase. The contingencies were cleared and we were ready to go by Christmas.
The Pending Purchase
Remember, we were out of state and about three-and-a-half hours away. Being present for everything wasn’t totally in the cards.
The home inspector was accommodating, as was our real estate agent. We were able to make the inspection by combining it with a preschool visit.
No home is perfect, and of course our inspector found some issues of varying seriousness. Radon is a problem in Ohio. Our home did come back high, as our agent warned was a possibility.
After reviewing everything in the report, we picked four things for concession or repairs: radon mitigation, double-tap negative in the electrical panel, a water heater problem, and GFCI outlets on the exterior and kitchen.
The buyers responded with a price quote from a contractor on these four issues, which we agreed to. This contingency lifted, so other than locking down financing, everything was ready to go.
Shop for your financing!
I mentioned in a prior entry about finding our buyer’s agent we close to go with a program that kicked back $1000 at closing.
As we moved forward with the offer and securing our financing, we just really didn’t like the terms our mortgage company was giving us.
With our top-tier credit, we really felt we deserved the best rate and we weren’t getting it. The loan officer was pushing us to pay points and quoting us all these different interest rates based on paying and not paying points. Pre-paying interest doesn’t make sense for us based on our past history and future intentions.
At this point we weren’t locked in to using them, so Alan started calling around. We had shopped around a bit before selecting this lender, but thought it was worth a second look before committing to them as our loan servicer.
It’s a good thing he did this! He found a deal we couldn’t pass up, one that would make a lot of people turn their heads. The lowest interest rate, with 15% down, and NO PMI. That’s right: I said 15% downpayment and no private mortgage insurance! Until this point, we were stretching to make 20% work, even considering taking a loan from our retirement to fill the gap. But why when we didn’t have to? Plus:
- Our mortgage company doesn’t sell our loan to Frannie or Freddie.
- We can pay $5000 or more to the principal at any time once a year and they’ll adjust our monthly payments with no penalty.
- No crazy points changing the interest rates.
It was a deal we couldn’t pass up. The original company simply couldn’t match it.
Negotiating the Move-Out
In Kentucky it’s not typical for buyers to remain in the home after closing. Our agent even emphasized this upon signing our agreement with him. But lining up our move out/move between the holiday and moving companies was stressing us all out.
We asked our buyer to extend our stay until Saturday. He was an investor who was just going to rent it out anyway.
He said he wanted to be able to show the property starting January 1. That wasn’t something I wanted to deal with when working part-time, trying to pack up the house, and entertaining a kid. I said no.
But everything’s negotiable. He promised to give us lots of advance notice, to not show on the day before and during our move-out, and didn’t care if the house was not in tip-top shape. I conceded, and we amended our contract to stay another six days post-closing with lease fees paid to the buyer.
We went on vacation to Florida with the process up to that point pretty easy sailing–but no real estate transaction is that easy. Our stress came right at the end.