The Waiting is the Hardest Part for Home Sellers

I love the legacy Tom Petty leaves behind.  Where were you when you first remember singing these lyrics “the waiting is the hardest part” at the top of your lungs? For me, I was on a road trip to Palm Springs. 

As a home seller Orange County, the waiting is most certainly the hardest part.  If you are not already aware, the default and most commonly elected stipulation in the Purchase Agreement gives buyers 21 days from the date of acceptance to remove all of their contingencies, at which point they are either all in, or forfeit their initial deposit to cancel the transaction. That’s three weeks, which is usually nine days before the close of escrow.  That’s a long time to wait to see if your buyers are going to stick it out and actually close escrow.

You love your buyers, but you’re anxious. Suddenly you go from being elated that you got the house sold, to feeling like these buyers are holding you hostage and you don’t like it.Not a bit.  So what do you do during these three agonizing weeks or waiting?Here are a few options.

You might choose to look at the contingency removal period as an opportunity to continue to court the buyers.  You might make homemade chocolate chip cookies the morning of their home inspection and leave them on a pretty platter in the kitchen with fresh pot of coffee or a pitcher of cold milk and some pretty glasses and festive plates and napkins with a note that says “Please help yourselves!”  You might leave some brownies and chilled water bottles for the home appraiser with the same pretty plates and festive napkins, along with a document listing all of the upgrades, recent improvement projects, and special value-added features of your home.  You might respond to the buyers’ Request for Repairs with a resounding “Yes!” and even fix a few more items you saw in their Home Inspection Report.

Or you might choose to continue to market the house, in an effort to attract a Backup Offer, just in case the buyers decide to bail during their 21 day contingency period.  You might keep doing Open Houses during the week and on the weekends.  You might choose to refuse to address any of the items on their Request for Repairs, and even dispute the veracity of the inspector’s findings.  

Obviously, there’s a middle ground between these two different approaches.  But as you reflect on how to handle the 21 day waiting period, please take into consideration clichés such as “what goes around, comes around,” “negative karma,” “bad mojo,” and also ask yourself if you really want to keep your house perfectly put together for any more Open Houses.  

I'm Leslie Eskildsen, Realtor, and Contributing Columnist to the Orange County Register Sunday Real Estate Section 

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Email me. Leslie@LeslieEskildsen.com

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