When Your Buyers Want Out

June 28, 2021

You put your home on the market looking like high powered buyer bait, and you were lucky enough to get several good offers.  You chose the one with what you thought had the best price, best terms and least risk of falling apart. Then you got the call from your agent – the one we all totally hate to make – telling you that something happened.

There are many things that can go wrong between the time you sign an offer and then sign the papers that transfer ownership from you to your buyers.  Sometimes, it’s just a really bad case of buyers’ remorse, especially if they “won” a particularly bloody bidding war.  Or perhaps the eagle eyed home inspector found a surprise that you did not disclose.  The worst is when, a couple of weeks after you accept the offer, the lender has problems with the appraisal or the loan approval process goes all pear shaped.

Sometimes, though rarely, the sellers get a consolation prize – the buyers’ earnest money deposit, which in this area can be substantial.  But in most of the failed transactions, the buyers are protected by some contingency in the contract you’ve signed.  Even if you are contractually entitled to keep the deposit, you, the buyers and the brokers all have to sign a release agreeing to how the funds will be disbursed.  And if you plan to get into a serious argument about keeping the whole thing, you can’t sell your home to anyone else until you and the first buyers work out the earnest money.

Whatever the reason for a kick out, most sellers let the failed buyers go and can find themselves back at square one, having to push the reset button in the search for someone else who will love their home. You have to get the house looking wonderful again, and your agent has to restart the marketing process.

There is a good chance that the new buyers will be among the people who saw your home before it went under contract, so the first thing a good agent does is to pick up the phone and call every agent who showed it and anyone who might have visited an Open House.

In today’s market, some sellers do better the second time around.  We still have very little inventory, and homes that are well priced and well presented have been known to sell for more to one of the parties who lost out on the first go around.  Buyer brokers in the area are not only on the lookout for brand new listings, but for the second chance homes that could be a happy ending for their clients.

If you or anyone you care about is contemplating a move, I’m ready to help make that happen.  Please call or text me at 202-549-5167 or send an email to housepat@mac.com.  And to see some of my past Monday Morning Coffee posts, visit my website, www.housepat.com.