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How to make sure the home sale goes smoothly

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You get a robust offer on your house. You are ready to sell and get on with new plans. And just about that time – the sale falls through.

This is relatively unusual, but it does happen. In 2016, 4 percent of home deals fell apart.

One reason: The eager buyer takes a loan for new furniture or a brand new car to park outside the new home. Bad idea. Even when credit has passed a pre-approval check and the final loan approval seems imminent, that is the worst time to put a ding on a credit report.

During this time, home buyers do not want any credit inquiries on their report. There should be no large financed purchases. There should be no large changes in bank balances. This might prompt the lender to suspect the buyer needs money from family to cover closing costs.

Most importantly, large financed purchases can change the income-to-debt ratio, causing an increase in the interest rate, or killing the home deal completely.

Buyers are well advised to do nothing that could change their credit profile until the deal closes.

Lien issues can also get in the way. It’s possible that a lien is discovered on the property, preventing the seller from legally transferring the property to the buyer. This could be an ex-spouse listed on the title, and suddenly unwilling to sign off. Unpaid taxes. Unpaid debts. There can be no liens on the property.

Home inspections can uncover problems that trouble buyers, so much so that they back out of the deal. The fact is that inspections nearly always uncover some problem, but the big ones — roofs, HVAC and water issues — can cause a buyer to reconsider. Some deals can be saved if a seller agrees to a credit as compensation.

Appraisals can come in low. Buyers nearly always pay for the appraisal, but if it comes in lower than expected, the lender might be unwilling to finance. To avoid this, get a real estate agent to provide comparable home sales before the purchase contract.

Finally, when a buyer must sell an existing home before signing a new contract, but hasn’t been able to do so, the deal can fall apart. Some buyers might qualify for a bridge loan to make the mortgage payments on two properties.

Somehow, although many things can go wrong, most deals stay together.

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