It should come as no surprise that something as important as buying a house can cause plenty of trouble before the ink on the dotted line is dried. If you can’t imagine what could go wrong, here are the 10 most common problems when closing on a house.
Mortgage hunting backfires.
If there’s anything as troublesome as buying a house, it’s getting the money to do it. Mortgages are a complex issue most people have to go through before they can call a house their home. Mortgages require a lot of paperwork and giving away plenty of information. Even if you did everything right, you might not get one — losing the house purchase in the process.
You should’ve offered less money.
Once you have a handshake deal with a seller, you’ll go to the bank to get a mortgage. One of the requirements to get approved is to get an appraisal – that way the bank makes sure they are lending money for a property that’s worth it. If the appraisal comes back lower than your seller’s asking price, two things can happen: either the seller lowers the asking price or you pay the difference in cash to the bank. If neither one happens, the sale won’t happen either.
Someone forgot to tell you the house is in the middle of a high-risk area.
If you are taking out a mortgage to pay for your house, you’ll probably have to pay insurance each month alongside your mortgage monthly payments. If the house you are planning to buy is in a high-risk area, you’ll have to pay for hazard insurance each month — until you finish paying for your mortgage at least. Hazard insurance can be incredibly expensive. It can give anyone second thoughts about buying a house.
The home inspection gives you problems to solve and headaches to have.
Before a sale goes through, you’ll probably ask for an inspection. Once the inspector arrives, he’ll check for anything bad: mold, rotten material, possible infestations, among other nasty things. If he finds something wrong – they always do – you will have to renegotiate the price with the seller. You’ll have to settle on anything found before you move forward with the purchase.
Clouds on your title can make it rain on your closing day.
A house title can have claims of ownership (also known as clouds) from other people besides the owner. If this happens during the sale, you are going to have to settle or solve them before you can buy a house. Outstanding taxes, divorce decrees, bankruptcies, among other things are also possible clouds that can affect a house title legitimacy — holding back the sale as well. This is where having a strong broker/agent is invaluable to help with the title search and to negotiate these hurdles!
The house can’t have insurance — no, it’s not good.
If the house is too much of a risk for insurance companies, they might refuse to provide any services to anyone living in that house. You may be thinking that’s great, less monthly payments to make. You wouldn’t be wrong — if you pay for your house in cash, that is. If you want to get a mortgage, house insurance is non-negotiable for banks. No insurance, no mortgage — no house purchase, as well.
Missing the deadline like it’s no big deal.
Another of the biggest problems when closing on a house is a missed deadline. When you are buying a house, there are strict deadlines you have to follow. They are found in the contract, in writing. Missing one deadline – even being one day late for anything – can be reason enough for the seller to nullify the contract, killing the sale and keeping your deposit.
Someone forgot your middle name.
One of the biggest problems when closing on a house is a clerical error! It might seem absurd, but it can happen. Contracts involved in house sales are complicated and rather boring for everyone but (some) lawyers. You are probably not going to read every line on the contract before you sign, especially if you see the documents for the first time right before doing it. Misspelled names, missing your middle name, the wrong address can all nullify your contract, delaying the house purchase until everything is done right.
The seller gets cold feet.
You may have done everything right: you found the perfect house, passed the inspections with flying colors, the appraisal came just like you thought it would and you have the mortgage money ready to go. But there’s one tiny detail left. The seller got cold feet and he doesn’t want to do it anymore. You may be able to talk some sense into him – as cold feet is rather common before a house sale – or you may lose the house altogether.
Last Problems When Closing on a House – The house is technically not for sale!
This might seem like it is straight out of a soap opera, but it happens more than it should. As you know, “clouds” can delay a house sale until every issue is settled. Sometimes a house is listed on the market by people who do not own the house and cannot legally sell it. Other times people are in a hurry to sell a house after they inherit it, but the paperwork is not cleared yet. No matter the specifics, if the house cannot be sold there’s no purchase either.