Three Things You Should Do During the Option Period as a Seller

Note: This is a chapter in my new ebook called The Ultimate Guide to Buying (and then Selling) Your First Home.  I will post a chapter a week.  If you like what you read, you can pick up a copy here for the price of a candy bar!   Buy a candy bar or be a real estate guru!   The next chapter we go over what sellers need to be doing during the option period.  The last chapter to be shared on this blog you can find here.

I called Sally the next day to make sure they remembered about the option period.  I told her. “In Texas, buyers have the ability to get a period of time to check out your home after your contract is executed.   This is called the option period.  Buyers will pay you a certain amount, usually around $100, for this option period, which will last anywhere from seven to fourteen days.   Buyers can back out of the contract for any reason during the option period without defaulting on the contract and get their earnest funds released to them.”  Sally said she remembered how they kept busy during the option period as buyers by working with me and the inspector.   “What do we do as sellers?”  Sally asked me.  I responded that there are three things you should be doing as a seller during an option period.

1.Get Your Mind in the Right Place – I told Sally. “The purpose of the option period is to allow the buyers to check out your home through inspections.  These inspections will bring to light repairs needed in your home.   I always warn sellers to have the right frame of mind during this period.   It will hurt to have someone come into your home and tell you what is wrong with it.   If you know this going into the process, you can better prepare your mind to the reality of people nick-picking your home faults.   They will request you to make repairs in a repair amendment.  Buyers will ask for a wide range of repairs. Some buyers will request repairs covering the breadth of the inspection report while others will focus on the big-ticket items.”  Sally asked what if Steve does not agree with the repairs being requested.   I responded that if you don’t agree with the repair amendment, you can counter offer.   Sally said she would do her best to keep an open mind to the process and the requests being made by the buyer.

2.Make Your Home available – I told Sally to be sure to have the room ready for the inspection.  “Inspectors will need to have access to the home.  The inspectors will look at every nook and cranny of your home.  They will crawl into your attic and ascend onto your roof.   If you have an insect inspection, the inspector will have to have access to crawl spaces.   Electrical panels need to be clear without obstructions so make a path in your garage to it.   HVAC units and furnaces will also be checked as well as all the plumbing in the home.   It best to brace yourself for this event as it can seem intrusive but a necessary evil of selling your home.”  Sally groaned in frustration because Steve had apparently used the garage as a dumping ground for all the excise stuff they had.  She said it would take a bit to clear a path to the hot water heater in the garage.  She wasn’t even sure where the electrical panel was located, but Steve knew. 

3.Cash the Option Check –  I reminded Sally that they received a check from the buyers for the option period.    These funds will be yours no matter if they contract goes through or not. “Go take the kids out to eat while the inspection is being held at your house.  It is your money to keep so why not cash it immediately and enjoy a dinner while your home is getting inspected.  A perfect way to get you in the right frame of mind for the upcoming repair amendment.”  Sally laughed at that idea and said she would be telling Steve that is exactly what they would be doing during the inspection later that afternoon.

Sally and Steve did end up taking both kids to a local fast food joint with a playground where the kids could play to burn off some of their pent-up energy.  Steve and Sally told me later that it was nice to just sit and talk to each other during the two hours it took for the inspection to get done.   Steve and Sally thought it would be enough to keep them calm during the repair amendment negotiations.  Boy, were they wrong!