Kathy Henne: Ready to trade?

When you sell your home, are you willing to take the buyers’ existing home in trade? Probably not – right? So, what will you do when the buyers say, “We want to purchase your home, but must sell ours first…”?

If you accept an offer with that condition, it is called a contract with a “contingency.” The contingency, of course, is that the buyers are not obligated to complete the purchase of your home – until theirs sells. That could leave you at the mercy of the buyers, or it may not. Don’t raise the caution flag too quickly.

When confronted with a “contingency” offer, ask your real estate representative to explain the positive as well as the negative aspects of accepting the offer. Ask questions. Is the purchasers’ home currently on the market? Has it been listed with a reputable real estate company? Is it being actively marketed? Have there been any offers? Is it under contract?

If the answer to these questions is “No,” it might be wise to reject the offer and to continue marketing your home. If the answers are all “Yes,” it may be that the contingency is only a short-term hurdle to the successful sale of your home.

Each home purchase and sale is unique, and includes many variables. To benefit from an informed decision, depend on your real estate representative to explain the consequences of each purchase offer you receive.