With such a busy, seller’s real estate market right now in Southern Colorado, why would any under contract home “fall out of contract” and go back on the market? You’ve seen real estate agents advertise houses as “Back on the Market” or perhaps you thought you missed out on buying a home, then it’s suddenly active again when you’re searching the MLS. Many buyers ask questions like:
Is this something you should be worried about?
Why didn’t it sell the first time?
Is there something wrong with the house?
As you can see from the Notice to Terminate contract, the buyer has lots of reasons why they can terminate a contract. The seller also has flexibility after receiving certain information, but the seller doesn’t have nearly as many chances to “cancel the contract.” So, typically when we see a house go back on the market, it’s generated from the buyer’s side of the transaction, although sometimes not by the buyer’s choice.
There are a lot of reasons why this could happen and they’re hardly ever the same. Although, we tend to see 3 major categories that a canceled contract often falls into, which typically leads to the home going back on the market:
Home Inspection or Appraisal Issues (House problems)
Inspection and appraisal can be stressful events for both buyers and seller. The inspector could find a major problem with the home or even a minor problem which parties can’t agree who will pay to fix. As part of the inspection process, even before the day of inspection, the buyer has the right to investigate and research the home. This could lead to discoveries that may change the buyer’s name including: special taxing districts or fees the buyer wasn’t expecting; inability to get or dissatisfaction with future homeowners insurance; the home is in a flight pattern; the buyer doesn’t like the neighborhood; the history of the home makes the buyer uncomfortable (deaths/suicides, drug problems, rumors from neighbors, etc). Plus, if the home doesn’t appraise for the contracted value and the parties can’t agree on a selling price, the deal may die with the finalized appraisal.
These are just examples, but overall, we typically see a buyer cancel a contract before one of these deadlines. There are also additional deadlines, where the buyers have the chance to look through HOA documents, title paperwork and other information. Although these dates may vary from the inspection deadline, many of them overlap and happen simultaneously. While they can put a home back on the market for various reasons, inspection and appraisal problems are the most common.
Buyer Financing and Loan Approval (Buyer Problems)
Although the buyer may be qualified to purchase the home when they go under contract, things can change. For instance: if they buyer loses a job or another stream of income; if the buyer suddenly makes a large purchase while under contract; if the purchase of the new home was contingent on the buyer selling his current house and the sale falls through or if the buyers suddenly receive or learn of a judgement against them.
Plus, anytime there’s a loan involved, the process can be complicated, especially depending on the type of financing. Even a conventional home loan can get flagged near the last few days in underwriting. That’s why it’s important to do your research on the lender – as a buyer, it will keep you from spending unnecessary money and headaches and as a seller, it will help decrease the likelihood of having to put your house back on the market.
Buyers simply change their minds (Buyer Decisions)
Just when you think you’ve seen everything, another creative reason comes along. From suspicions of a house being haunted, to the overwhelming problem of not being able to match the paint colors (yeah, that’s a real one), there are a million reasons a buyer may back out of a contract.
Other real-life reasons include (these were collected from agents around the country):
- Buyer went to jail
- God told them to not buy
- The house had bad feng shui
- Buyer passed away while under contract
- Ex-wife lived across the street
- Buyer saw a mouse in the house
- Strange statues in the neighbors yard
- Buyers (a couple) decided to get a divorce
- There was a bad omen
- Their lifecoach said it wasn’t in sync with their souls
You can always ask for previous inspection reports or reasons, but the main point here is that just because a house goes back on the market doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the house itself. Sometimes the listing agent will disclose why they’re back to active status in the MLS, and sometimes they won’t get into too much detail. Unless there is a material defect that was uncovered, they are really not required to give you the details and a smart agent will determine what information to release and still best represent their client.
If you’re interested in a home that’s come back on the market, have your favorite real estate agent check-in with the listing agent to gather additional information that could give you the upper-hand when making your offer!