A Realtor spends hours viewing and researching property for a buyer. Once the perfect property is located, a buyer may feel they are on the homestretch, but the reality is: you’re a long way from your agent completing their job.
There are still many pitfalls that may arise during the settlement process. Keeping a positive outlook and trying to locate solutions will make all the difference in a successful transaction. Here are a few stumbling blocks, and some suggestions to navigate those hurdles:
Each market has its own sticking points, but the Ocean City market seems to be especially perplexing to many “out of area” lenders. Some of the problems with not using local lenders are:
Furniture is usually included with condo sales. This is not the “norm” for most lenders. You might want to specify “sold as shown” rather than “furnished.”
If a lender will not underwrite a condo without sufficient reserves, a switch to a local lender may make this problem disappear.
Out of area lenders may have a more conservative view of required reserves.
Home inspections frequently cause concern and stress to both the buyer and seller. You may want to remember not all items on a home inspection need to be addressed.
It is the sole duty of the inspector to locate any and all issues with a property. However, at times the long list or repair items become overwhelming and appear to be “nitpicking” to a seller. This may make the seller want to throw up their hands in despair. By taking the cost of each item into consideration, you may find there are a number of repair items that could be ignored. It is best to keep the focus on the larger, more costly issues.
As an example, a knob missing from a dryer, a $3 item, could be overlooked. However, a faulty HVAC system is of much higher importance due to the cost of repair/replacement. It is important to pick and choose your battles, so to speak.
By being reasonable with the seller, you could expect reciprocal treatment.
Most appraisers put forth great effort to perform a satisfactory appraisal on properties under contract. That being said, within the last two weeks, I ran across an appraiser that believed she could not use the most similar units (to the subject property) located in other buildings. She believed she was required to exclusively use properties that were sold and situated in the same building… Even though they were not similar. One did not even have an ocean view, whereas the subject property had a magnificent view!
If she had used a unit in the same building as a comparable, she should have adjusted her numbers to allow for a much better view, a deeded parking space, electric shutters, newer kitchen and baths, etc. Unfortunately, she decided to allow no additional value for those items.
When this occurs, the buyer can dispute the appraiser’s findings and request an adjustment.
Another option is for the seller to lower the price to fall within the appraiser’s findings.
3rd option: In my case, the buyer and seller split the difference. The buyer’s financing was such that would accept this agreement (some won’t).
Condo docs are an important part of the transaction process. Condominium or Homeowner’s Association (HOA) documents provide all the information required to educate the buyer. The buyer is not expected to buy into a condo or property located in a homeowner’s or condo association without being well informed as to what the rules and regulations are for that specific property.
This is the buyer’s opportunity to learn how the property is managed when presented with the minutes of meetings and full financial disclosure as provided in the HOA/Condo docs. Most importantly, there are no surprises to the buyer such as costly special assessments.
Many buyers do not realize that upon receipt of the HOA or Condo docs, Maryland law allows the buyer at this point (no reason required) to terminate the sales agreement at his or her discretion.
There are a number of problems that may arise during the settlement process. If you are a buyer or seller, you may want to contact your local Realtor or attorney for assistance if you are considering a new property (or home) sale or purchase.