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Selling Your Home - What Can Go Wrong With Title and Lenders


If you're selling your home, there are going to be difficulties at some point in the transaction. Some problems can't be fixed. It's important to figure out whether yours are fixable or not. Then you can either fix them or move on and find another buyer. If it's priced appropriately, there's a buyer out there for virtually every property.

Title Problems

You get a call from the person searching the title to your property saying your first cousin once removed is shown as having a ten percent interest in the property. I hope you (and not just your lender) have title insurance.

If you don't, perhaps your cousin will sign a "quit claim deed" (or whatever similar term your jurisdiction uses) if her father was paid for his interest long ago, but nothing was recorded to that effect with the land records. If that doesn't work, perhaps your cousin will agree to join in the sale and receive ten percent of the proceeds.

Failing that, you're probably looking at a court proceeding. The sale will fall apart, and you'll have to start all over again once the problem of legal ownership has been resolved. Bummer. Before you put a property on the market, make sure your title is clear.

Lender Objections

Lenders can really punch holes in a home sale. Let's look at a few examples.

Example One

The lender calls and says your garden shed is encroaching on your neighbor's property, while their fence is on yours. The lender won't fund the buyer's loan until everything is moved to where it belongs. Typically, the lender isn't going to back down. What are your options?

If you get along with your neighbor and can do the work yourself (or can afford to have it done), the problem can be quickly cured. I once saw a very creative resolution to this problem. The shed was on a utility right-of-way. The seller got the county to write a letter to the lender saying that if a shed weren't on a poured foundation (it wasn't) and could be moved on notice, then it wasn't considered an encroachment until/unless such a notice was sent.

Example Two

The lender says your property will appraise for the amount needed for the loan so long as the following repairs are made. The list of repairs upsets you. Time to take a deep breath and think. How can you get them taken care of before settlement? Can you do them? Have them done? Would the buyer be willing to help out? Is this a deal to walk away from? Regardless of the answer, the key is to make a logical decision not an emotional one.

Example Three

The lender's appraiser comes in with an appraisal that is below your agreed sales price. The lender is willing to lend based on the appraisal, not the previously agreed price.

There are several options for fixing this problem.

1. You can reduce your price to the appraisal price.

2. If the buyer wants your property enough and has enough money, he can pay a larger down payment and leave the purchase price the same.

3. The two of you can split the difference; you come down some, and he increases his down payment some.

4. Or, sadly, the deal can fall apart over this issue.

The real key to successfully dealing with problems is to stay calm, open minded, flexible, bottom line oriented, and think win/win. Most of the problems that occur do have solutions. We just need to look for them persistently.

Raynor James is with http://www.fsboamerica.org - providing homes for sale by owner, "FSBO", properties. Are you thinking, "Should I sell my home?" Visit http://www.fsboamerica.org/seller.cfm to sell your home sale for free for one month.


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