When buying real estate, just when you think you have done everything you can to put your best financial foot forward, there are times where things that are out of your control happen.
Think of the Midwest with the tornadoes, Puerto Rico and Florida and Texas with hurricanes. Think of going under contract to buy a condo and finding out the building’s finances are not in order and the bank won’t give you a loan. Or there is a problem with the title to a property and it could take weeks or months to clear up. Or you are buying new construction and the tax IDs from the city haven’t been assigned yet, therefore delaying settlement.
That’s why a good agent will protect their buyers with contingencies, and that’s why there exist such systems as homeowner’s insurance, title insurance, mortgage insurance — we all have to plan a little wiggle room for those situations in life where we did the best we could, but still came up short.
If I do a home inspection with a client and we discover leaks and mold and all kinds of unfavorable situations, hopefully I have built in a home inspection contingency to get them out of the contract. If a homeowner bought a home and the title was not cleared correctly, that’s where the title insurance comes in when they go to resell and need to clear up the title and who is going to pay for that?
If the condo building you want to buy in has a budget problem and the owners of the various condos are not current with their condo dues, then hopefully the financing contingency can come into effect because the bank won’t be able to issue a commitment letter for the loan, and the buyer can walk away.
A good agent will understand the layers of protection and contingencies, and can explain how to insure their client from the inadvertent surprises that come up when buying or selling a home. A good agent will also not act as an insurance salesperson, an attorney, a home inspector, or a structural engineer, but will be able to lead you to the right person to help you as a client make the most informed decision possible in that situation.
Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with The Oakley Group at Compass. Reach him at 703-587-0597 or Joseph.firstname.lastname@example.org.