Introduction

Selling or buying a home for cash can be a quick and painless process, especially compared to standard, financed sales. However, some factors can influence how quickly a transaction can be completed. The steps involved in a typical cash house sale are outlined below, primarily from the seller’s perspective. Below are situations that have the potential to slow down the process. The majority of  them are avoidable if you’re proactive in dealing with them.

There are several steps involved in selling or purchasing a home with cash:

Negotiations

Both the buyer and the seller must negotiate sale terms that are acceptable to both parties. These negotiations can include the sale price, closing date, earnest money, payment of closing costs, whether there are any sale contingencies, and so on.

Obtaining Proof of Funds

A seller should always verify that a cash buyer has legitimate access to the funds required to buy the home; this is known as “proof of funds.” Bank statements or a letter from a private lender (typical for “cash” deals) can be used as proof of funds. To confirm the validity of pre-approvals, you should always contact any private lenders.

Contract Signature

Make sure you use a valid contract when it comes to selling your house. One-page contracts contain numerous loopholes that usually benefit the buyer rather than the seller.

Opening of Title

A title company is a third-party that acts as a “middleman” during the sale. The title company’s job is to ensure that the property being purchased by the buyer is exactly as described in the sales contract. They also ensure that the person selling the property has the legal right to do so and that any liens on the property are discovered and resolved at the closing. The sale usually moves at the speed of the title company.

Earnest Money

Earnest money is money put down by the buyer as a guarantee that the contract will be followed throughout. Buyers who pay cash must be willing to put money up front.  If a buyer is unwilling to put down 1% in non-refundable earnest money, it’s because they’re unsure if they’ll be able to close on the home. As a result, the sale may fall through later on. If a buyer fails to fulfill their contractual obligations, the earnest money is usually forfeited to the seller as “damages.”

Completing the Inspection Period

This time is used to allow the buyer to conduct property inspections. During the 10 day inspection period, the buyer can cancel the contract and receive a full refund of their earnest money. This time is typically used to allow the buyer to conduct property inspections.

If your cash buyer is an owner-occupant, they will most likely want an inspection option. Experienced investors will typically request a no-option period. They usually know what to look for and have their numbers after walking through the house. If the house contains components such as septic systems or wells that require specialists to inspect, they may require a very short option period of only 3 to 5 days.

The longer the option period, the more time the buyer has to back out without incurring financial penalties. Since there are no consequences for a buyer who cancels the sale during the option period, no or short option periods are preferred if you need a quick, cash sale.

Appraisals

The market value of a home is determined by an appraisal. Appraisals are performed by a state-licensed appraiser. Buyers who intend to live in the property as owners may want to have these done, but investors  typically do not.

Closing

Closing occurs when you sign all of the documents necessary to transfer ownership of the home from your name to the buyer’s name. The title company verifies that they have all of the required documents once the closing paperwork is completed. After verifying this, they wire or check the money from the buyer to the seller, pay off any liens on the property, and give the seller any remaining proceeds from the sale.

So, how long does it take to close on a cash-purchased home?

The length of time varies depending on a number of factors. In the best-case scenario, a cash sale can be completed in as little as 48 hours to 10 business days. This, however, assumes a clean title and that payouts are already in hand or will be provided quickly by the lending institutions involved. This timeline also assumes that the home has no other liens besides the mortgage and that the buyer can move quickly.

Things that can slow down the process include the following:

  • Being dishonest with the buyer
  • Periods of choice
  • Poor rating
  • Having a deceased person on title
  • Additional liens in addition to the mortgage (especially if they are not disclosed to the buyer from the start)
  • Divorce
  • Current bankruptcy
  • Financing

Greg Bilbro

Greg Bilbro is the CEO and founder of Fair Property Buyers. After 20 years as a residential Realtor, Greg founded Fair Property Buyers, a nationwide group of local real estate professionals and cash buyers committed to helping homeowners that want to sell their home without a realtor. Fair Property Buyers helps local homeowners get cash for homes without any hassles.

Greg Bilbro

Greg Bilbro

Greg Bilbro is the CEO and founder of Fair Property Buyers. After 20 years as a residential Realtor, Greg founded Fair Property Buyers, a nationwide group of real estate professionals committed to helping homeowners sell their problem properties quickly and easily. Fair Property Buyers helps people across the U.S. sell their homes for a fair cash price, without the hassles.

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