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Acts of Faith in Real Estate

It may come as a surprise to you, but buying or selling a home is largely an act of faith. As a seller, you hire an agent whom you believe will do a good job for you. You turn your keys over to the person you have chosen to handle one of the largest financial transactions that most people ever make. You believe, or should believe, that they will handle this transaction in your best interest and make you the most money possible. It's interesting to me that many sellers believe that it doesn't make a difference which Realtor they hire, that the result will be the same. But that could be a whole article by itself. 

Let's fast forward to negotiating an offer and opening escrow. Let's assume that you have multiple offers and are satisfied that your agent has represented you well--an act of faith again. You should have confidence not only in your agent, but in the agent's staff, and in the affiliated services they use such as escrow and title.

Here is a time that really requires faith--the escrow process. Most transactions have contingencies which must be met for the transaction to move forward. The main three contingencies are inspections, and if the buyer needs to qualify for a loan, the loan contingency and the appraisal contingency. Here are new opportunities to practice faith--all these contingencies run concurrently. That means you are expected to complete paperwork, start packing, and possibly even perform repairs before you know for sure that this deal will actually close.

This is where a lot of sellers experience a loss of faith, and they don't want to complete paperwork unless they know the deal is moving forward. The common question is why should I do all this work before I know for sure this deal is happening? The answer is that if you don't, you can cause delays in closing on time. 

Some deals today contain another contingency--that of either finding a replacement property for the seller, or of selling the buyer's home so they can afford to buy yours. This really requires faith that everything will happen in a timely fashion. And this is the time to exercise the most faith and to stay on top of a lot of details. One escrow is confusing for many people, two can be more than doubly confusing. Before we stored all our documents online, I used to suggest my clients buy two plastic boxes with lids and label each box with the property address for their purchase and their sale. Today, create a folder for each property in your Dropbox and copy everything you receive into the appropriate folder.  And here is the most important advice: read everything, especially the checklists of due dates and schedules. And check your to-do list often. The one thing you should not have faith in is your memory--there are too many moving parts to keep them all straight in your head. 

Spanish Pool Home at 5156 Townsend
Sweet Mt Washington Cottage at 243 Mt Washington

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