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5 Seller's Rights During Closing You Need to Know

As a home seller, accepting an offer on your home and starting closing procedures may feel like the home stretch but many things can happen with inspections, appraisals, loan approval, etc. that torpedo a closing and send sellers back to the drawing board.
As a home seller, accepting an offer on your home and starting closing procedures may feel like the home stretch but many things can happen with inspections, appraisals, loan approval, etc. that torpedo a closing and send sellers back to the drawing board.

Closing on your home may appear like the light at the end of the tunnel in what was most likely an exciting, emotional journey of selling your property. However, sellers need to be present and attentive during the closing of their home because many things can change in an instant.

Work with an expert agent to help you during this difficult time. A top, local agent will be there to guide you before, during, and after closing.

During the in-between of accepting an offer verbally and actually getting the buyer to the closing table, many things are apt to change. As a seller, it's important to know what your rights are during closing. Read on to discover what sellers are entitled to during the closing period.

Sellers can still entertain offers from other buyers.

Tensions run high during a home sale and negotiation. It's perfectly alright for a seller to verbally accept an offer while continuing to field other offers. Often, a verbal offer from a buyer ends up falling through.

The buyer may have found another house they prefer last minute or may decide not to buy your home for a million other reasons that can crop up between a verbal offer and signing on the dotted line. So many things can happen and it's legal to continue to leave the house on the market even if you've verbally accepted an offer.

If the house isn't under contract, then it's not close to being considered “sold” and you, as the seller, have the right to protect and ensure your best interests are taken care of. However, it is fairer to advise the first verbal offer of any new offers that came in and allow them to revise their offer.

Sellers do not have to disclose everything about the property.

Each state has its own disclosure laws regarding real estate sales. For example, some states require the seller to tell the buyer if a death has occurred on the premises. Other states stipulate that the seller must disclose if an exorcism has been done in the home. These laws really run the gamut.

An experienced, local realtor will be better able to assist the seller in what they should and shouldn't disclose. It's wise that the seller set themselves up for an honest, clean sale so it's usually better to disclose more than less.

But you don't have to divulge that your next-door neighbor enjoys sunbathing in a speedo on the front lawn. That can just be a fun “welcome to the neighborhood” surprise.

If the buyer's financing falls through, the seller can walk away.

The buyer has until the closing date to secure financing but if they still have not obtained a mortgage by then, the seller is allowed to walk away. While this is unfortunate, it does happen.

Buyers get swept up in the emotion of house hunting and sometimes believe they can afford a home that they can't. A change in the buyers financing can also give the seller a way out so long as the change negatively impacts the seller.

The seller can still require asking price even if the appraisal is less than the buyer's initial offer.

This frequently occurs when the real estate market has entered a seller's market and home inventory in the area is low. The home may appraise for much lower than what you originally asked for but it doesn't mean you have to accept the appraisal offer.

The buyer can pay the difference in cash or agree to pay some seller's closing costs. Dropping the price to get closer to the appraisal is advisable in certain situations but your knowledgeable realtor will be better able to offer guidance in these instances.

The seller doesn't have to be present at closing.

For sellers, they often stress closing because they believe they must be present at the buyers' closing to sit around the table, sign on the dotted line, and hand over the keys. Sellers that moved away can spend thousands of dollars returning for the closing of their home when it's unnecessary.

The seller will need to be present at his or her own closing to sign a few documents but need not sit with the buyer as they sign their respective closing documents.

Closing on your home doesn't have to be stressful or tense. Working with an experienced realtor who has many successful closings under their belt will help ease the process along.

Clever Partner Agents are both knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of real estate transactions. They will help sellers negotiate offers, fill out paperwork, and complete the closing of their home successfully, leaving no loose ends. Contact Clever today and speak with an experienced Partner Agent.

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Andrew Schmeerbauch

Andrew Schmeerbauch is the Director of Marketing at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you top agents to save on commission. His focus is educating home buyers and sellers on navigating the complex world of real estate with confidence and ease. Andrew has worked on projects for the United Nations and USC and has a particular passion for investing and finance. Andrew's writing has been featured in Mashvisor, L&T, Ideal REI, and Rentometer.

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