Selling and Buying, Part 2: The Contract

If you haven’t visited the Part 1 post, go back and check that one out first. Otherwise, let’s jump right into the contract! 

In this section we’re discussing the contract for the sale of your home. After listing your home, we first want to secure a well-qualified buyer with a solid contract before moving onto house hunting. We’re going to cover a few areas of the contract and tools that we real estate agents pull out to make sure that you are in the best position moving forward. 

In our current real estate market here in Atlanta, sellers have a ton of leverage when it comes to negotiating this contract. Here in this I’ll be pointing out just a few of the contract items that we use to our advantage in this portion of the transaction. 

The most important thing that we can control in the contract is when you have to move out of your current home. First off, we can choose to make the close date further out. Rather than 30 days, we can make the close date 45-60 days and potentially include a stipulation that the close date is flexible based on how quickly we are able to secure your next home. 

Secondly, we also use what is called “temporary occupancy”. Different than a “lease back”, in the temporary occupancy the seller doesn’t become a tenant of the new owner. Instead they are able to stay in the home after closing as much as 30 days without a lease. Many times the seller will agree to put up a small refundable deposit that is held by the closing attorney and returned to the seller at the end of the temporary occupancy period. 

Another aspect of this contract that we can and should control is the amount of time the buyer has to back out of the contract. We’ll look at due diligence period, finance and appraisal contingencies and keep special stips to a minimum. Best case scenario is to have a completely clean contract with 0 days for due diligence and 0 contingencies. But, at the very least we want the shortest time periods possible in all areas to make sure that our buyer is locked in and we can move onto the house hunting stage. 

One last thing that I’ll mention here is to consider asking for higher earnest money from the buyer. Worst case scenario in any contract is having the buyer walk away 2-3 weeks down the road. But a 2% earnest money check in that situation can help to cushion the blow. 

That’s all for Part 2 of Selling and Buying. Stay tuned for Part 3 where we talk about how using the right agent can help you when out in these multiple offer situations. 

Give us a call! We’re happy to answer any questions!