In a real estate transaction, I refer to the period of time between the offer to the closing table as the Emotional Rollercoaster. Finding a home is the easy part. Getting to the closing table is the end goal but it is also where all hell breaks lose. Negotiations do not end with an effective contract. Timelines, inspections, repairs, addenda always come into play during the process. With each step of the contract, emotions play a primary role.
Meet the characters:
Meet the characters:
- Seller Sam
- Seller’s Agent Sally
- Buyer Bob
- Buyer’s Agent Bill
Oh but it doesn’t end there. We also have,
- Home Inspector Harry
- Lender Larry
- Title Agent Tina
- Insurance Agent Ian
- Repair Man Ralph
- And a few other unnamed suspects – family, friends, neighbors, etc.
All of these characters are people. People come with opinions and emotions and everyone wants to give their two cents for what it is worth.
Contrary to all of the advances of AI and technology, this process can not be navigated electronically. It takes a person (or people) with experience, knowledge and some EI (emotional intelligence) to course correct the path to the closing table.
Buckle up, the emotional rollercoaster is a wild ride.
A Few Tips
Here are a few tips to help you through the real estate transaction process. This is not an all inclusive list but are some of the most crucial pieces to navigating the transaction.
Pick your “square squad”
This is a concept that became popular by famed author, speaker and researcher, Brene Brown. Your square squad is a very short list of people whose opinions matter to you. Don’t fight this one – other people’s opinions are actually important to you! Find 2, maybe 3, trusted friends who you can bounce ideas off of during the process. If you are Buyer Bob, Buyer’s Agent Bill should be a key person on your square squad. The same goes for Seller Sam.
If you don’t decide whose opinions are important upfront, everyone’s opinion will become important. Not everyone is invested in your success. Pick your square squad early on and try your best to stick to it.
Know the goal
Seller Sam’s goal isn’t to find a buyer for his home. The goal is to sell his home.
Buyer Bob’s goal isn’t to find a home. The goal is to purchase a home.
It is always easier to get where you are going when you know where you are heading.
Know the process
It is critical for Seller’s Agent Sally and Buyer’s Agent Bill to sit down with their customers before and throughout the process to explain the steps. Knowing what is coming up and what steps to take next are essential to a safe landing at the closing table. If you are trying to find the right agent for you, read this to help understand the difference.
Rushing the process and making quick decisions can often backfire. Breathe. Determine if you are really facing an obstacle or a mirage.
Be solution-based (or at least open to it)
Finding all the problems and honing in on all of the things that could go wrong is a recipe for everything to go wrong. Problems WILL arise during the transaction – I guarantee it! However, 99% of all issues can be resolved if you have the right people on your team.
What to Expect
Here are a few things you can expect throughout the process. If you know about them in advance it won’t be such a shock when you come face-to-face with the issues.
Home Inspector Harry will find a TON of work to be done. It is his job! Even if you are buying a brand new house, there will be a few punch items that will need to be addressed. Since most homes are not new construction, expect to have a laundry list of nuances. Every house has a few issues. Some are major and some are part of owning a home. Identify the ones that are the most important and address those specific items.
Lender Larry will undoubtedly ask you for a list of paperwork you will need for the loan. The most common are:
- Bank Statements
- Tax Returns
- Proof of Employment
- Proof of Income
- Credit Score
The most frustrating part is when Lender Larry asks you for the same documentation more than once. Go ahead and expect it. Create a Google Drive folder. Drop all of your requested documentation there. You can then access it from anywhere to send Lender Larry what he needs.
You probably won’t hear much from Title Agent Tina until it is close to the closing date. If you are buying a house, don’t forget to order the survey. If you are buying a condo, make sure to have HOA approval early on. These are two things that are often overlooked until Title Agent Tina requests them a week before closing.
WARNING: Never send wiring instructions via email. If you receive an email requesting wiring instructions or a change in wiring instructions, pick up the phone and call Title Agent Tina immediately. Wire fraud is a real thing in real estate.
Timelines to know
Once you are under contract, sit down with your Realtor and make a list of important timelines. Mark your calendar so you know what to expect and when. Work, travel, emergencies will pop up but the timeline of your real estate contract stays the same. Be prepared and proactive.
- Contract acceptance
- Escrow deposit (aka good faith deposit)
- Loan application
- Inspection period
- Title examination
- Homeowners Insurance
- Loan Approval
As you move through the timelines and negotiations involved, work to find a win-win solution. Here are a few other articles to help you start your process:
What to know when selling your home