Warning Signs When Selling a Home

Selling your home is a significant event. Not only will the transaction involve the transfer of a large amount of money, selling a house often represents a meaningful change in a person’s life, whether that comes in the form of a new job, a new city, or a new stage of life. 

However, no matter why you’re selling, when you decide it’s the right time to do so, it’s absolutely imperative that the process plays out as smoothly as possible. This means preparing properly, as well as having the right information at the right time so you can make the best possible decisions. 

It also means avoiding troublesome elements, ones that can derail your plans, or cost you time, money or unnecessary stress. In order to sell your home with a minimum of fuss, here are several warning signs every home seller should heed, particularly when it comes to sellers. 

Watch Out for Red Flags

Once you’ve hired a listing agent, priced your home appropriately, prepared it for sale with a tasteful staging and put it on the market, you’ll begin to show it, receive offers from potential buyers, and start negotiating on a final price. 

However, not all offers are the same, and neither are buyers. 

Just like you would in a professional or academic context, take note of some of the little things that may indicate a larger issue. Examples include unreasonably low offers, poorly produced sale contracts, or requests for extra contingencies. 

Mistakes on the Home Purchase Agreement

Also known as a sale contract, purchase contract or agreement of sale, the home purchase agreement sets out an agreed-upon price as well as the terms and conditions related to that sale. 

If you receive a contract that contains errors or is missing information, be warned: this home buyer (or their real estate agent) may not be a great fit for you. Seasoned professionals will deliver a flawlessly-prepared home purchase agreement every time, something that should not be difficult if you’ve done it many times before. 

Accepting errors at this stage puts you at risk of experiencing delays and complications in the sale of your home, which can snowball into major problems down the road. 


Far Too Small of an Offer

While there is always the possibility that a disappointingly low offer was the result of a poorly-priced home (or unreasonably high expectations on your part), a very low offer may also be a red flag that indicates your buyer isn’t the right fit.

A low offer could be related to a number of factors, but it is very possible that a low offer is the result of a buyer not having appropriate resources to successfully complete the sale. There may be concerns about the cost of future renovations, or difficulty with their credit score (and thus, their ability to secure a loan from a financial institution). 

No matter what the origin of the low offer, be warned. If you receive one from a seller, or if you receive a very small earnest money cheque, consider the buyer as unreliable until proven otherwise, and make any decisions within that context.

Unreasonable Contingency Demands

Every home purchase agreement contains specific clauses, or contingencies, that enable potential buyers to walk away from the contract without penalty if certain conditions are not met. Examples of common contingencies include requests for home inspections, or the requirement that certain financing and appraisal conditions be met before a buyer will commit to a purchase.

But while the inclusion of contingencies is both commonplace and an element of a prudent home-buying strategy, having a potential buyer request unreasonable contingencies is another danger you must watch out for. They are a sign that the seller is not as committed as you would hope, or that they are having trouble making a concrete commitment. 

If you’ve received a request for contingencies, speak to a real estate agent and find out how often those contingencies are included in agreements. Anything outside the norm is something to be aware of, as they could ultimately lead to a sale falling through at the last minute, or worse.

Follow the Advice of a Professional

While it’s important to be aware of any important signal coming your way during the process of selling a home, keep in mind that not every one of the signs listed above is guaranteed to be a make-or-break moment. 

As with most things, context matters. After all, there may be perfectly valid reasons for a seller to want to feel protected through the inclusion of extra contingencies. In the same manner, sometimes missing or incorrect information or a home purchase agreement is perfectly understandable and acceptable. 

That’s why there is value in using an experienced real estate professional - you can use that industry experience in your favor. A good REALTOR™ will be in the best position to help you make a determination about the severity of any of the signs listed above. 

They’ll also be fully aware of the market conditions in your neighborhood, which will allow them to determine whether or not you should accept an offer at a given price, how hard you should negotiate, or when it may be time to move on to another buyer. 

Trust Calgary House Finder

If you’re planning on selling your house in or around Calgary, it pays to have an expert in your corner. At Calgary House Finder, our goal is to make sure you sell your home efficiently, and at the right price. 

If you have any questions, or simply would like some advice, contact us anytime or simply call at (403) 836-3898. We want to be partners in your success!

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