If you’re looking to buy a duplex, chances are you’ve looked at a few on the Internet.
Odds are also pretty good that you’ve stumbled into a duplex listing or two that were on the web so long and were such good deals that you simply had to call the listing agent to see when you could get in to see it.
At that point, you learned it already had an accepted offer on it.
So why, then, was it still on the Internet?
When someone writes an offer on a duplex, they usually do so with a couple of contingencies. In other words, they are offering to buy the duplex provided a couple of things happen.
They may make their offer contingent on conducting a home inspection, and determining that the property’s mechanical condition is satisfactory to them.
If it isn’t, then their purchase is also contingent on coming to terms with the seller about how to remedy any health and safety imperfections they find in the property.
Unless the buyer is paying cash, the purchase may also be contingent on the buyer’s ability to qualify for a loan, as well as the duplex’s ability to appraise for a value equal to or greater than the price the buyer and seller have agreed on.
However, in this market, the duplex seller may also have a contingency. For example, if the duplex is worth less than the amount they owe their lender, they must make the sale contingent upon their ability to come to a reasonable settlement with the bank.
This often takes many months.
When the duplex owner hires a Realtor to help them sell their property, that agent is charged with acting in the seller’s best interests at all times.
Experienced Realtors know that duplex sales can fall apart relatively easily; especially during the inspection and short sale approval periods.
As a result, the agents don’t want their sellers to lose valuable marketing time by being off the market when there are still a lot of “ifs” around the purchase agreement they have in hand.
What’s more, there’s the matter of public perception. After all, if a property is sold, then available, what is your first thought?
For most people, it’s, “There’s something wrong with it.”
Sometimes, deals simply fall apart because of silly things– like a buyer deciding a seller needs to fix everything found on the inspection report. Or, on occasion, the buyer may have suddenly lost her job or the seller’s relocation falls through.
Only when all contingencies (except those surrounding financing) have been lifted, then the agent will change the duplex’s status to pending.
As a buyer, your best bet in finding a great deal on a duplex is to work with one Realtor who can help you find the perfect property the minute it becomes available; whether that’s on the MLS, or one of her pocket listings.
Call me. I’d be happy to help.