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What to do when a buyer voids a contract?

What to do when a buyer voids a contract?


It’s not an exciting day when the buyer changes his or her mind. It’s definitely part of the risk of selling a home and getting under contract that a buyer may decide for any reason to want out of a contract. As a seller working with a skilled listing agent, one can do a lot prior to going on the market, while accepting contracts and during the contract to close phase to help avoid a buyer backing out of a contract.

Save money. Have a strategy.

Save money. Have a strategy.

Even so, sometimes buyers do. This could be for a reason they find in a home inspection, for an unexpected health or family reason, loss of a job or any number of reasons. They might state their reason and ask out or they might void the contract during the home contingency phase, for example (As a side note, this is one reason to have a strategy to eliminate contingencies being in the contract in the first place. Like doing your own pre-listing inspection and making corrections, and then advising the buyer that this has been done.).

When the buyer wants out, and can do so contracturally, or you as a seller simply agree to let them out of the contract, what then?
Some options:
1) Put your home back on the market immediately with no changes whatsoever to the home or listing information available to the agents and the public.
2) Put your home back on the market after strategizing, having learned from one buyer / one part of a possible sale, making adjustments to the information.
3) Put back on the market after strategizing, having learned from one buyer / one part of a possible sale, making adjustments to the home itself and the information.

My experience is the 3rd option is usually the best approach.

First, without exception, it is always important to assess where the market has changed since the home went on the market and since the contract was ratified. Markets are always moving in one direction or the other, and can be very local (I refer to it as hyper-local.), very specific to the neighborhood, even. Take a strong look at “What is the market of the moment?” In order to be in sync, timely, with decision makings in formulating a strategy.

Selling Your Home Without Having It Returned to You

Selling Your Home Without Having It Returned to You

Then, if due to a home inspection, what was the reason for the back out? Did the buyers say they were anxious or unhappy about any items on it? If so, it would it behoove you as a seller to listen to what the buyers found and said about it, make corrections if it makes sense, and note any big ticket items as “replaced, new or improved” to buyers?

Another reason the buyer might back out is for a more desirable home down the street that has come on the market since the buyer went under contract with you. If so, would it be a great idea to take a very strong look at that home and how it compares to yours? What about it is more likable to buyers – price, condition, exact location? You may want to or need to adjust your pricing strategy if that home or any others help you to see the market of the moment in a clearer sense.

I hope this was helpful. With a great strategy going into selling a home – choosing an experienced, skilled listing agent, completely preparing your home for sale, having a smart pricing strategy, and creatively and strongly marketing your property, you will be a long way to a hedge against a buyer wanting to void a contract. An once of prevention…. “an investment of $100 could save you $1,000.”


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Stonegate Townhome Listed Today! Alexandria Rocks, too! Open House 3/22.

Stonegate Townhome Listed Today!
Alexandria Rocks, too! Open House 3/22!

Hi! We just listed a stunning townhome in Alexandria in the fabulous area of Stonegate. It is the most beautiful home I have ever seen here.

This luxurious home is completely and elegantly renovated for your turnkey move-in. The floorplan has over 12 ft. ceilings on the main and master bedroom levels, gleaming hardwood floors, a unique, wonderful two-level master suite with loft spa bath – and so much more – to charm and please the distinguishing buyer. The new kitchen just sparkles and has the conveniences of well thought out pull-out storage, beautiful stainless steel appliances and more-than-ample cabinets.

Please come see this incredible home and us this Sunday 1-4pm. Priced at $572,000. Here is a sneak preview!

2440 Garnett's Living Room

2440 Garnett’s Living Room

2440 Garnett Dr., Alexandria, VA 22311

See more at

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Arlington, VA, Columbia Pike Streetcar Update

Arlington, VA, Columbia Pike Streetcar Update

A recent ROI study by HR & A Advisors, Inc., says that the streetcar is a much better investment than high-capacity buses for Columbia Pike. Over a 30-year period, they say the streetcar would generate $3.2-4.4 billion in net real estate value for Arlington. This is $2.2-3 billion more than an enhanced bus service for The Pike would generate.


Additionally, the streetcar would help attract a larger share of new economic activity in the region. Over 30 years, this would be $375-735 million in tax revenues for Arlington County – more than 3 times what the enhanced bus service would generate.

So – get on the bus or get on the streetcar?

Ken & Team Yes I Ken!

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Clarendon, Arlington, VA, Mardi Gras Parade 2014

The 2014 Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade in Arlington, Virginia. It’s coming up soon!


Believe it or not, the Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade is the largest celebration of Mardi Gras’ Fat Tuesday in the Washington, DC area. Organized by our wonderful Clarendon Alliance, the colorful parade features community groups, an array of floats, some pretty cars, fire trucks and “tons” of Mardi Gras beads (necklaces).

When? Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at 8PM.

Where? The parade route runs along Wilson Boulevard from North Barton Street to North Irving Street. Wilson Boulevard will be closed off to non-parade activity.

How to get there? Be GREEN and take Metro. It’s right nearby.
Or, if driving, where to park? On the street or in one of the several public garages.

We look forward to seeing you. It’s a yearly outing for Team Yes I Ken!
Arlington, VA’s Mardi Gras Parade is another reason that ARLINGTON ROCKS!


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The market for Arlington, VA, has heated up. Homes selling fast!

With Arlington, VA, showing a record low inventory of available homes for sale, the market has gotten peppy. Depending on the weather and market factors, this time of year is normally a bit quiet yet – until Spring comes around.

Not this year! Arlington’s market has heated up. Especially slim, underrepresented, for sale are single family homes in the $600-800K price range. Meanwhile, there are few single family homes for rent. Talk about pressure for people needing to find places to live and the need to be on top of things – ahead of the game – for the VA Realtors assisting them as well.

Multiple offers are pretty common again in Arlington. Those homes that are showing well and that are priced right are moving quickly, with some getting multiple contracts.
VA is a lucky girl right about now. Yeah, market!

So if you have been thinking of selling, there is a window in good ‘ole Arlington, VA. If we can be of help, gives us a shout.

All this is good news for our local housing market. Proof that home sale statistics are very local. Not just as local as a state, like VA – each locale even. Not many in the country are enjoying the sales that we are in Arlington! Here’s to the market!

Getting it SOLD – for YOU!
Ken Courtade & Co
The Yes I Ken! Team
[email protected]

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