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Once an offer is accepted, the home comes off the market and the buyer is allowed to do due diligence to inspect the home and ensure they’d like to move forward with the purchase. After the due diligence, the buyer must then obtain financing for the home, known as the underwriting period. During this time, the bank will inspect the buyer’s financials and the home under contract to ensure those buyers are good candidates for the mortgage loan.

Find Out About the Buyer’s Own Circumstances

The estate agent can find out some important information which could influence how quickly you can sell. Some questions worth checking include:

  • Are they committed? How serious is the offer? Has the estate agent been showing them other properties? Are they still weighing up their options?
  • Is the buyer in a chain? If so, what progress has been achieved with their sale already? If the property has not been placed on the market yet or there is not a firm buyer, then alarm bells should ring. However, if an offer is in place and you can get confirmation from a solicitor that exchange of contracts is imminent, there should usually not be any issues. You want to minimise the chances of things falling apart;
  • Do they have a mortgage offer in place? Committed buyers usually have some kind of ‘pre-application’ / ‘decision in principle’ confirmation from the lender;
  • Have they suggested a ‘subject to’ offer – i.e. they would like to check some things before fully committing? If your property needs work, this is a fair enough proposition. But if it sounds like it’s an excuse to get time, it probably is;
  • Are they first-time buyers? If so, do they have their finances together or will they be using the government’s Help to Buy scheme? If the latter is the case, is the equity loan agreement firmly in place?
  • How will they pay for the deposit? If possible, find out how much they’ll be putting into the property and whether their funds are secure;
  • If you are selling a rented property or the buyer is a landlord, remember that the rules governing buy-to-let purchases are a lot stricter these days. It is a good idea to ask your solicitor to check the solvency of the buyer and make sure that any issues have been accounted for;
  • Who is their solicitor? Check the firm’s reputation online;
  • How quickly do they want to complete? If people are saying months down the line without a genuine reason, then there may be cause for concern.

Most serious buyers would not oppose to a timeline for the sale to happen and be proactive. If there are any doubts, or you are not feeling confident, explain to the estate agent that you would like to leave the property on the market for longer. Often this can be a good incentive for the buyer to get things moving.

Understand That This is a Big Deal for Buyers

It is often easy to lose sight of the fact that this is often the largest purchase buyers will ever make and it is fair, within reason, for people to ask questions and ‘nit-pick’ (however annoying they may be!). Of course, there will be time-wasters – but it is sometimes worth remembering that buying and selling can be a stressful period for everyone involved. Serious buyers will ultimately want to get things done just as much as you do.

Sign title and escrow documents

You’re almost there. All that’s left is for you to sign your title and escrow documents. Be sure to bring a valid photo ID with you when you sign. Following close of escrow, documents showing that the seller now owns the house will be recorded in public records. You’ll be wired your money, and the sale will be complete. Congratulations, you made it!

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