In North Texas we are still in a Seller’s market…for sure! But as a Buyer, you should still follow some basic guidelines to minimize any risk when you are purchasing your next home. Two very important components are getting a professional home inspection during an Option Period and doing a final walk-through right before closing.
First let’s talk about the Option Period and home inspection. The Option Period is an amount of time that the Buyer is allowed to get the house checked over for repairs that are not obvious during initial viewings of the property. The Option fee is minimal, typically only 100.00-200.00 due to the Seller within 3 days after executed contract and the Buyer usually asks for this back at closing. Option Period is usually between 5-10 days, depending on how aggressive you want to be with your offer. If you are up against other offers and want yours to seem more advantageous to the Seller, you would ask for less time; because the Seller doesn’t want to have his property tied up for too long. Then during the time allotted, you’ll want to schedule a professional home inspection with a reputable Inspection Company. Your Realtor can recommend one for you if you are unsure of who to use. The actual inspection cost can vary from company to company and is based primarily on the square footage of the home. Some major repairs to look for are A/C, roof damage, foundation issues, and plumbing or electrical problems. All of these are “big ticket” items in a home, and something you don’t want to get stuck paying for right after you move in! Other items of lesser concern are appliances and cosmetic fixes that the inspector may have called out, but you missed. After the inspection uncovers any issues, you’ll want to get with your Realtor right away and decide what you want to have fixed. Your Realtor will then submit an Amendment to the contract and the Buyer and Seller will negotiate a deal to keep the contract in tact. Now, as the Buyer, you have the right to simply walk away from the deal if there just seems to be too many major repairs, or if the Seller won’t agree to fix anything. Terminating the contract during the Option Period allows the Buyer to get their Earnest Money back without any hassle.
Next let’s talk about the Final Walk-through. You may think that this isn’t that important, because after all, you’ve probably seen the house a couple times leading up to the closing date. But it IS important! Why? Because the Sellers may have damaged something in the house while they were moving out. This actually happened last year with one of my Buyers; the Seller’s moving company really gouged the newly refinished hardwood floors in the Master Bedroom…and right in front of the doorway, so it was very noticeable! Luckily the Listing Agent was very transparent about it, and called us to let us know before our walk-through. We were able to work out a quick Amendment to cover the cost of repairing the floor prior to closing. Had we not known about it, and chose not to do a final walk-through, it may have been difficult to get the Sellers to pay for it! Another good reason to do a walk-through is if the Sellers were supposed to leave any non-realty items (such as a patio set or washer and dryer)…and they ended up taking them with them instead! It would be pretty hard to object to any damage or missing items AFTER you’ve closed on the home! It’s much easier to bring these up before you sign on the dotted line!
For more basic guidelines to follow when purchasing your home, always reach out to your Realtor! It’s our job to help you navigate through this process with the least amount of stress and anxiety possible!