What If The Buyer Needs To Sell His House First?

Imagine this: It’s been a few weeks since you first put out an advertisement on your house. You’ve already entertained so many potential buyers; however, no one has yet signified an interest to buy your home. Then, just when you least expect it, you receive word from an agent that their client likes your home and is planning to buy it. Unfortunately, there is a catch: apparently this buyer is part of a chain, and before he can place a deposit on your home, he has to sell his own property first. If you’re faced with a situation such as this, what would you do?

There are several courses of action you, as a home seller, can take. However, to protect your interest, it would be advisable to gently advise the buyer that you cannot put your property on hold until he has sold his house. Reassure him, however, that in case your home is still on the market by the time his unit has been sold, nothing would prevent you from transacting business with him.

Most buyers would be willing to present you with contingent offers but it may work to your disadvantage. Once you accept a contingent offer, you will have to advise your agent (or the real estate agents of other buyers) about this. Buyers or agents who are aware that someone else has “laid claim” to the property may have second thoughts about even considering your home. You may not get back up offers from other potential buyers as they will think that your home has already been “reserved”.

In addition, buyers who can afford to purchase a home outright would not want to wait until the 1st buyer reneges on the contingent offer. They would rather spend the time wasted waiting for the reply, looking for other available homes.

If, however, you decide to accept the contingent offer, do not remove your house off the market. Remember that you are unsure of the buyer’s capability to make good on his promise. You just have to inform your potential buyers of your outstanding agreement. If the buyer you are talking to is serious about purchasing your home, this pending contract will not deter him from making an offer.

At the end of the day, if you are in the hands of a good listing agent, your interest as the seller will be protected. For instance, if I were your agent, I would include a verbiage on the contract that in the event another offer is received, the first buyer has a specific number of days to either remove the contingency and move forward with the offer, or cancel the contract to give way to the ready and able buyer. But that's me! ;)

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