Mutual acceptance happens when you and a seller reach a full agreement on the price and all the terms of your purchase. Once you reach mutual acceptance, we step into the important due diligence phase in which you have an opportunity to order a home inspection, a well inspection, a septic inspection, and any other contract inspections needed. It is also in this phase where you get your financing approved, and that is no small challenge lately, even for the eminently qualified buyer. What I want to share today is what to expect during the phase from mutual acceptance to closing. I’ve seen many disputes arise in this phase, and I’ve seen buyers and sellers get very frustrated during this phase. By understanding the process and the issues that concern sellers, a little proactive planning can facilitate all of this for you and substantially reduce your stress, too.
Mutual Acceptance for Buyers
When you reach mutual acceptance with a seller, you begin the emotional process of taking ownership of your new home. You want to go back and spend time there, think about what you might do to make it your home with new carpet or hardwood flooring, and you might also think about changing some of the landscaping. You plan furniture, and you think about the time you will spend in your kitchen, and so on. You begin to feel a sense of ownership, and all this is normal and good. In this process, you will have a home inspection done, and you might have a flooring guy come and give you advice. You may attend the septic inspection, and all of this means you will be back at the house several times between mutual acceptance and closing.
Beyond Mutual Acceptance for Sellers
Herein lies the potential for frustration on the part of the sellers, which could translate into tension in your relationship with the sellers. Your seller may have lived in this home for 20 or 30 years. It may have been where they raised their children and where they also have fond memories of playing with their grandchildren. They have prepared and shared many good meals with loved ones in this home, and they have shared private moments of sadness and laughter in this home. They cannot easily abandon all these emotions, and no one would expect them to. What this means for you as a buyer is that your “intrusions” into their home can unwittingly make them feel violated.
All this means that buyers must tread lightly prior to closing, because it will be easy to offend the sellers who still have not let go of their ownership and control on the emotional level. They feel that this is not your home until it closes, and they are correct about that. This plays out when buyers step over the line, at least the line that sellers feel is a line. If a buyer brings a flooring expert in to look at replacing carpet, he may pull up a tiny corner of carpet somewhere in the house to see what the flooring looks like, and even though he will push that little corner of carpet back down so it is nearly undetectable, sellers may see it and get quite upset. A buyer feels this is his right or that it is no big deal, because he needs to know what carpet to order and what it will require. But a seller may get quite upset.
If you go back to the house several time with your buyer’s agent, your Realtor may not shut all the lights off in every room in the house, and this can upset the sellers. If your Realtor misses one door lock, either on the front door or the back door or a sliding glass door or a garage door, this can be the cause of the sellers getting upset. And watch this. Life has taught me that when there is one mistake, there is often two or three, and now you can have very upset sellers. But on top of this, you can have misunderstandings that are not mistakes, and you can also have a buyer who makes a little mistake, a Realtor who makes a little mistake, and a seller who makes a little mistake. There are a hundred possible little things that can upset sellers. It’s important to tread lightly as a buyer during this phase. We need to respect a seller’s feelings. The truth is, we do walk on thin ice between mutual acceptance and closing. As long as we do it carefully and with respect for the seller’s feelings, and as long as we are careful to not make mistakes, we can get to closing safely.
Last Updated on September 23, 2019 by Chuck Marunde
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