Selling Your Home on Your Own – Examples of Problems and Solutions

What can go wrong? About a gazillion things, but this is true if you’re working with a broker, too. A broker is probably more experienced than you, and may well have confronted and solved your problem on a previous home sale. If you can stay calm and think under stressful conditions, you can be your own problem solver without the need for a broker. Plus, there is no guarantee the broker will get it right.

A longer list of possible problems from real life are for a later article. I will include a couple here just to help you size up your willingness to cope on your own.

Problem One

You have a contract with a buyer, but the buyer gets cold feet.


Be calm, matter of fact, and pleasant. Encourage your buyer to open up and tell you what’s in the way. “I don’t want you to buy our home if it’s not right for you, but you seemed to really like the house (condo/townhouse/whatever), and now you’re not sure you should go forward. What’s changed? What’s troubling you?”

If they level with you, you have a shot at helping them overcome their objections and solve their issues. You may even find they’ve misunderstood something. If so, correct information may be all that’s needed.

However, if this approach doesn’t work, and the buyer no longer wants to buy, let them go and move on. As long as the buyer wants to buy and the seller wants to sell, most problems can be sorted through. If one of them changes his mind, it’s over. (You can probably sue for “specific performance” under the contract, but do you really want your property off the market while you deal with that?)

Problem Two

Your buyer has made an inspection by a home inspection firm a contingency of the contract. The home inspector comes up with a laundry list of items to be repaired or replaced. Your buyer requests that they all be done prior to settlement.


Don’t let your ego get in the way. It’s not personal. It’s real estate, and big bucks are involved. Take a deep breath. Go over the list. How much money is really needed to make the repairs? Can you do any of it yourself? Call a plumber, carpenter, roofer, electrician, or whatever trades you need and get a ballpark idea. If the result looks reasonable, get closer estimates and agree to have the work done.

If it’s too expensive, explain to the buyer that the price of the home takes into account the condition. If the repairs are too expensive, can you and the buyer agree to “split the difference?” That is, can you do some items on the list and not do others because (you will explain to your buyer) the home was priced accordingly, but you are willing to compromise if he is.

If the repairs are too time consuming (the trades can’t take care of it before scheduled settlement), you are going to have to give it some thought. Can you agree to provide a sum of money to the buyer at settlement with which he can have the repairs made?

The key to coming up with solutions to the particular problem is to stay calm and thoughtful. The buyer is not your enemy. With any luck you can work out a win/win solution.

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