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  • Cheryl Lichen-Hooper

Don't Overlook Little Details During the Sales Process

(Courtesy of the Orange County Register)

There are some huge milestones in a residential real estate transaction. The home inspection, the termite inspection and the buyers’ loan approval are among the items worthy of mention.

But sometimes paying such rapt attention to these big hurdles hides the little dangling details that might come to bear on the outcome of your transaction. See if you agree.In the days of old (say 10 or 12 years ago) few buyers bothered to get a loan pre-approval prior to looking at a home. There were so many homes available, and access was not limited to any sanitation or social distancing guidelines.

Sellers were happy to welcome anyone with a pulse to come and tour their home. Those pesky financing details could be worked out later.

Enter the era of COVID-19, a hot sellers’ market with very low inventory and reasonably strong demand for homes, and most agents and sellers now require a copy of the buyers’ loan pre-approval before scheduling a showing appointment. This starts the purchase process off on the right foot, but there’s still the matter of the appraisal.

In a market where prices are bumping up and accepted offers are well over the list price, the issue of the appraised value can become a white-knuckle roller-coaster ride, involving a lot of wait time until the lender gets the appraiser’s report.

The sellers are hoping, praying, chanting and burning incense to make sure the appraised value comes in at the contract price. If the appraised value below that amount, check your contract. Have the buyers removed the appraisal contingency?

If they did, then they can’t come back and ask the seller to reduce the price to the appraised value or ask for a credit to make up the difference. They have to come up with the money out of pocket to make up the difference. If they waived it, they pay the difference.

But then there’s the home inspection.

At the same time, you’re on pins and needles waiting for the appraisal, the home inspector goes over your house with a fine eye and lots of probative equipment, which may include thermal cameras, moisture detectors, and microbial sample collections.

So don’t take your eye off of the ball sweating the appraisal and get blindsided by the 52 asks from the buyer based on the exhaustive and probative activities of the home inspector. Sellers need to make sure they have the time or resources to investigate the potential costs of all those repairs.

And now that you’ve had all of your time, energy and attention tuned to the appraisal and the list of repairs, and you’ve somehow cleared those hurdles, you may have forgotten to remove the flat screen TVs from the master bedroom, media room and the family room. Oops.

Leslie Sargent Eskildsen is an agent with RealtyOne Group West. She can be reached at 949-678-3373 or

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