What Can a Seller do if the Buyer Won’t Remove Their Contingencies?

Westcoe Realtors, Riverside Ca…This is a very interesting question, and quite frankly, one that we real estate professionals have to deal with more often that you might think. So…here is our best advice if you find yourself in this position.

First, understand that almost 100% of the time, the buyer of a property has some sort of contingency for that purchase. It could be about the loan, or the appraisal, or the condition of the property that needs to be inspected, the roof, the lot lines, etc. We could go on for days here, but the important thing to understand is that there is almost no transaction that does not have some contingencies in it.

Secondly, for most of the above contingencies, the standard real estate purchase contract gives the buyer 17-21 days to complete whatever due diligence (inspections, etc.) the buyer needs to finally raise their hand and say….YES…I will take this home.

So, to get back to our question of the day…what can a seller do if the buyer refuses to remove their contingencies at the expiration of this 17-21 day period?

Well, as a seller, you have two options.

The first option is to cancel the transaction, and everyone goes back to square one. The buyer will normally get their deposit back, and the seller can put their home back on the market for sale. Of course, this is no fun for the seller, because it means that they are starting over, but sometimes, such is the world of real estate.

The second option is for the seller to “chill”, and allow the buyer a little more time to remove the offending contingency. Many times, it’s not really the buyer’s fault that they cannot remove the contingency in the time period allotted. Maybe the home inspection was delayed, or maybe as a result of the home inspection, the buyer had to get another professional (roofer, plumber, electrician, etc.) out to the home for additional information…or maybe the appraiser for the home took too long to do the appraisal…you get the idea.

So, in a case where it makes sense to give the buyer a bit more time, then in many instances that is the wisest thing to do. What needs to be balanced out here is extending the time for the buyer, but not going so far that as a seller, you are simply being “strung-out” by a lazy, or uncooperative buyer. There is no hard and fast rule here, but common sense and professional judgement on the part of your real estate agent will go a long way.

In the end, your transaction will either close or it won’t, and you will either hang with your buyer or kick them to the curb…the choice is yours. All we can do is get you to understand that “one size does not fit all,” and to use your best sense of what your situation calls for.

Good luck…sometimes neither choice is particularly appealing.

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