How a Lawyer Can Help You Deal with a Difficult Home Seller

How a Lawyer Can Help You Deal with a Difficult Home Seller

Carrie Pallardy
Carrie Pallardy
 | 
If you are on the hunt for a home, you have probably heard that it is a seller’s market this year. The number of homes for sale is lower than it has been in recent years, and competition among buyers is fierce.
Landing a home in this type of market is tough for buyers, and it can become even more challenging if you run into a difficult seller. What are some of the signs of a difficult seller, and how can a lawyer help you handle this situation?

Spotting a Difficult Seller
Selling a home, just like buying a home, is a stressful process. Both buyers and sellers are bound to have questions that lead to some back and forth, but sellers can do certain things that make the process even more of a challenge. 
  • Difficulty viewing the property. As a buyer, you want to be able to view a home you are interested in purchasing. This can require some flexibility on the seller’s end. A difficult seller might keep finding reasons to cancel or reschedule viewings.
  • Refusal to negotiate. Sellers may have the upper hand right now, but that doesn’t mean buyers have no room for negotiation. Selling can be an emotional process, and the homeowners may not feel ready to part with the house. Maybe they refuse to change the sale price, even if it is warranted.
  • Lack of communication. You put in an offer for a home, and then you wait. And wait. A difficult seller may sit on your offer without clearly communicating their intentions to move forward or not, leaving the prospective buyer in a kind of real estate limbo. 
  • Too many people. Some people decide to sell their home without a real estate agent. A “for sale by owner” sign can potentially indicate a challenge. This can be particularly true if you are dealing with multiple owners (for example, the children of a deceased parent) selling a property.
Working with a Lawyer
As a buyer, you already have a real estate agent on your team, guiding you through the process and helping you to handle the mountain of paperwork that comes with buying a house. Your realtor can handle many issues that come up in the buying process, but sometimes problems, like a difficult home seller, could call for additional support from a real estate lawyer. 

A real estate attorney can help you manage complex deals beyond the scope of a realtor’s experience. A skilled lawyer will be able to help you during the negotiation process and recognize any red flags on the seller’s end. If necessary, your lawyer may be able to work clauses into the contract to help you move forward. 

For example, you might consider an escalation clause when dealing with an indecisive seller. This clause gives buyers the opportunity to raise their offer price if the seller receives another offer.
If you run into a difficult seller, talk to your realtor and consider the complexity of the deal. When you find you need extra support, a real estate lawyer may be a valuable addition to your team.

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
 

 
Carrie Pallardy

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