HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An interesting question on today's Real Estate of Mind, "Once I put in an offer on the house, am I completely locked in if the Seller accepts it?"
Once I put in an offer on the house, am I completely 100% locked in if the Selleraccepts it? What if there are problems with the house that I didn't see/notice when I went to the open house?No. The Buyer is not completely locked in. Most real estate contracts have a number of contingencies that need to be satisfied.
One important contingency is the home inspection contingency. The Buyer has the opportunity to conduct a professional home inspection to have everything checked from roof to foundation, plumbing, electrical, appliances, etc... If the Buyer is not satisfied with the results of the inspection, Buyer may cancel within a certain time period.
Does the Seller need to let the Buyer know what is broken?
Yes, the Seller has to provide a written Disclosure Statement about any known past or present defects, conditions or repairs, any material facts that could measurably affect the value of the property. If Buyer is not satisfied with the Seller's Disclosure, Buyer may cancel within a certain time period.
What are some other contingencies that give the Buyer the right to cancel a contract.
Some other contingencies might include Buyer's review of termite inspection results, title issues, survey issues, subdivision and or condo document review, financing contingency, etc.
Sounds like the Buyer is not locked in until a number of contingencies are satisfied. How about the Seller. Can the Seller change his mind and cancel the contract, let's say the Seller receives a higher / better offer?
No, the Seller cannot just change his mind and cancel an accepted contract. Once accepted, means signed by Buyer and Seller and delivered back to Buyer, the Seller is bound by the terms of the contract.
But, a Seller could cancel if the Buyer is in default, means if the Buyer has not performed according to the timeframes and terms of the contract.
Who should you talk to if you want more information?
It is best to talk to an experienced Realtor to help you with the home buying / selling process as well as your favorite attorney for legal advice.