Selling your house fast in this market is a real accomplishment and sometimes those guys with the signs that say "we buy homes" that you now see everywhere can give you the help you need.
So far in this series I have confessed that I am one of those guys and have been for two decades and have offered some suggestions on how to see if you are dealing with someone dependable. That's a good start and you need more.
Even if the guy or gal you are looking to sell your house to shows up on time, has a long record of buying houses and has never been on the wrong end of a law suit, you need to make sure the contract details are what you think they are.
Lots of our advertisements say "Real People who Really Buy Houses." What that is getting at is that some of the folks that say they want to buy your house, do not really "buy" houses.
Does not make them a bad person and you may want to do it their way, but I think it only fair, that you understand the way this works. Think "contingency." And contingency may well be a four letter word.
Here is how it works in some cases. Guy or gal says want to buy your house and the both of you sign a contract. Somewhere in the contract is a contingency that says, basically: You have to sell and I will buy if I want to. Most often that means that they have found someone to buy your house even before they close on it and they make a small profit.
Or, they do not find someone to buy your house before they close the transaction and they come back to you and say:
"My partner did not approve the deal, so I can not buy." I even met one person once who bragged that there was a clause in the contract that said his "dog" had to approve the sale.
"Little Wolf" Beardsley (World's Finest Australian Shepherd) never appeared in any of our contracts and even if he had, he never met a house he did not want to buy.
Now, in all fairness, there is nothing wrong with this arrangement. If the person who is "buying" your house is skilled in marketing, knows the local market inside and out and can sell your house for more money and faster than you can, they bought to be paid.
Real estate agents (and I am one) get paid for selling homes and they most often have no risk. They simply sell the house and get a commission if it sells and if it does not, they are out advertising costs. Your home buyer may close on the house even if he / she can not sell it as fast as they hoped, and in this market -that is a risk.
My only reservation is this. If the person "buying" your house plans to "flip" it like a pancake, you should know that this is what is happening. If they fail to sell it and turn it back to you because their dog, partner, wife, or hairdresser did not approve of the deal, you should have known that up front.
Again, there are circumstances where what you need is extra marketing and expertise and getting the house sold is really what you want. You do not care who is going to be living there.
So, I would simply ask this question of the professional home buyer. "Are you really buying and will you close the deal on the date on the contract? Or, are you looking to make a quick flip and never own the house?
There are some contingencies that are standard in all contracts. You should expect an inspection of the house and a pest control inspection. They should be done within a certain number of days. You may expect a contingency for financing and you will have to provide a marketable title to the house.
Expect title problems. Things that you did not know about. Maybe even things that involved the previous owner or the owner before that. It happens. A lot.
I bought a house once from man who had forgotten he was married and did not know where the wife was. In my state they both have to sign.
When we asked, he said he thought she was in Iowa. The sale was delayed until the fantastic title agent I work with found the wife and the still-married couple worked out an agreement for her to sign the deed.
Things will happen and some sales will not close for reasons unforeseen. But, before you sign the contract, I suggest you find out what your buyer plans to do with the house after your signature is added to the contract.
In the next installation, we'll give you some tips on how you can cut out the middle men-like me-and sell it on your own.