In-bounds or Out?

Test your real estate (and social) IQ, and see if you know which subjects are in-bounds ” and out-of-bounds ” for home Buyers and Sellers to discuss at closing:

A.  The home’s selling price.

B.  Any walk-thru inspection issues.

C. The Buyer’s plans to remodel ” or raze(!) ” the home post-closing.

D. Who the Seller uses for lawn care, snow removal, etc.

E. The ages and genders of the Buyer’s children.

F. Historical information about the block, neighborhood, etc.

G. Which replacement filter the forced air furnace uses.

Here’s the answer key:

A. BIG no-no.

Whether the ultimate selling price is perceived to be high (Buyers), low (Sellers), or just right (no one, ever 🙂 ), once the Buyer’s Inspection Contingency has been removed, it’s water under the bridge.

Especially if the negotiations were protracted or contentious, revisiting price can only serve to re-open (not-so-old) wounds.

B. Unh-unh. While walk-thru inspection issues are by definition last-minute, they should be addressed and resolved before the Buyer and Seller arrive at closing.

C. Judgment call, but usually “No.”

Even if it’s quite clear that the Buyer is going to do a major remodel ” because the listing agent’s marketing trumpeted “Remodel Opportunity!,” and everything in the home is 50+ years old ” the topic can be quite sensitive for older and/or long-time owners.

The clincher: if the home’s marketing boasted terms like “pride of ownership,” “immaculately maintained,” etc.

D. Yes. These are exactly the kind of details Buyers appreciate receiving from Sellers.

Especially meticulous or well-prepared Sellers will often type up this info for Buyers.

E. Yes. Sharing this kind of information shifts the focus from the purely business, and lets Buyers and Sellers connect as people.

Sellers who’ve raised their families in the home they’re selling, have many fond memories and associations, etc., often want to know ” and feel good about ” the people taking their place.

In the right circumstances, letting the Buyer and Seller get acquainted, however briefly, both promotes goodwill, and can help give Sellers in particular a sense of closure.

“F.” & “G.” Yes (same rationale as “D.”).

Common Bond(s)

Ultimately, what makes for a convivial closing is case-specific.

As a listing or Buyer’s agent, once the relevant paperwork has been reviewed and signed, I try to get out of the way, and see what feels most natural to discuss.

Or not . . .

P.S.: Happily, most of the time, it’s appropriate to exchange a heartfelt “Congrats!” at the end of closing.

The exception(s): when the transaction is the result of a death, divorce, financial or serious health issue.

When that’s the case, though, it’s common for the Seller to pre-sign, and skip closing altogether.

See also, “What’s in a Name? From “Settlement Statement” to “HUD-1” to “ALTA” Back to “Settlement Statement”; “Dress Code for Home Closings**”; and “Home Buyer’s Final Walk-Through Inspection.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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