What To Do When Your Deal Falls Apart?


The dreaded moment – you’ve got an accepted offer on your house, but the buyers have decided not to move forward, either because of an inspection item, a financing issue, buyer’s remorse or one of any other host of reasons. Whatever the issue, it’s a terrible moment when you are selling your home, but it’s something that many encounter during the home selling process. Besides the obvious &#*#@!* words that might be uttered, what do you do? Here are a few scenarios to help you with that unfortunate and often confusing time of deciding which step to take next:

What if you have a strong back-up offer? The answer is simple in this case. You go to the back-up offer, never put the house back on the market (BOM) and keep your fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly and the back-up offer results in a successful sale.

What if you don’t have a strong back-up offer though you have several parties with continued interest in the property? Interestingly this scenario just happened to me. I tried to show a property in Weston, MA that had just come BOM, but we couldn’t get in to see it. The sellers had an interested party, who had seen the property when it was new to the market and before the first offer had been accepted, and this interested party was rumored to be putting in an offer. Rather than showing the property to the masses, the sellers decided not to let buyers in but to wait and see if an offer from the interested party came in, which it did. And now the property is back under agreement again. Was that the right decision? Well, it’s ultimately up to you as the seller to determine how you want to work with and accept offers. Could these particular sellers have potentially gotten a better offer if they had opened up the property and started showing it to all who asked? Yes, they could have though none of us has a crystal ball. But they decided not to, and my guess is that they chose this option because they were exhausted with the showing of their house and having people in and out of it, and they just wanted the process to be done. And that was their prerogative….

What if you don’t have any back-up offers or interested parties waiting in the wings? The answer is disappointingly easy in this scenario. You simply put the house back on the market. The next question that quickly follows is what to do now to enhance the marketing of your property and remind the buyers and their agents about how wonderful your house is? In other words, how do you highlight your home to the market and make it pop, shine and sparkle to the world of buyers?

If we assume that you did not receive a full-price offer on your home and that by the time the offer came in your property had been on the market for some time, there are several things to do. First and foremost, however, the most effective strategy is to reduce the price of the house. That being said, the size of the price reduction obviously depends on the price point, activity level until you got the offer, days on the market and other such factors. Sometimes it’s just a nominal price reduction, and sometimes it’s sizable. But the bottom line is that people will take notice – whether they will act or not is the question and that really depends on the specifics of the situation, the home, the timing of the market and more (we won’t get into that now). The price reduction will also be combined with increased marketing efforts, which may include hosting broker’s and public open houses, further enhancing the property’s online and social media presence, developing a direct mail campaign for the property, running broker incentives – I could go on and on….

If your home has just been on the market for a short time (i.e., a few weeks) and the activity level has been good, you may not opt for a price reduction, but you will certainly want to push forward with increased marketing efforts as detailed above. The only caveat to this enhanced marketing strategy is that if the marketing comes on too much and too strong it can send the wrong message to the market. So sellers beware…there is a fine line between effective and desperate marketing.

All this said, I would like to end on a positive note. No matter which scenario you find yourself in, take a deep breath and rest assured that there ultimately is a buyer for your home, and you will find him or her…. It may take a bit longer than you would like and the price may be a little lower than you would like, but it will happen.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation as a home seller? If so, how did you proceed? And was it ultimately an effective course of action? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.