Homebuying Horror Story #8: When the Buyer Gets Cold Feet


Homebuying Horror Story #8: When the Buyer Gets Cold Feet

At Clear Title, we help people make one of the biggest financial decisions in their life: purchasing a home. The closing process can be complex and challenging, so we have developed this Homebuying Horror Story Series to bring to light some of the situations that can arise during this process. Last month we covered sellers having second thoughts; this month we are focusing on what happens if the homebuyer gets cold feet.

Fictional Situation: The Whitlock Family

  • Family of 3
  • Relocating
  • Unfamiliar with new town
  • Indecisive

The Whitlock family was both excited and nervous about a job promotion that would move them from their hometown of Des Moines, Iowa, to Pensacola, Florida. The father of the family, William, made the move before the rest of his family in order to begin settling into his new position and start the search for a new home in Pensacola. Meanwhile his wife and son began the arduous task of packing up their current home and getting ready for the big move. 

William, a notoriously indecisive person, hired a real estate agent and started touring homes. Because he was unfamiliar with the different neighborhoods in Pensacola, his search was all over the board. He was able to FaceTime his wife during the home tours, but it was not the same as having his partner help him make this huge decision.

The Whitlock family did not want to live “out of a suitcase” or rent a home in the new area – they wanted to set down roots as quickly as possible. With that driving their decisions, William made an offer on a house rather quickly. He put down earnest money and the closing process began.

Meanwhile, William’s wife and son sold their home and arrived in Pensacola. After touring the house in person, the couple began having second thoughts:

  • Was this really a good neighborhood, one that had a good school system for their son?
  • This house didn’t have a pool. Was that something they would regret during the hot summer months?
  • Another house popped up on the market that seemed like a better fit.
  • There were some areas of the home that the wife was unable to assess via  FaceTime calls.

The list of concerns was simply too great. The Whitlocks decided to back out of the home purchase – even though they were unable to recoup their earnest money because no such contingencies were worked into the purchase agreement. The Whitlocks were also unable to get back money they had already spent on the title search and home inspections. They would have been better off simply moving, renting for a while to get to know the new area and purchasing a home that would suit the entire family.

As for the seller, when a buyer backs out, they have to start from square one – relisting the home and working hard to make the home look appealing to other buyers who may have seen it removed from listings and then relisted. Other buyers may wonder if there is an underlying problem with the home, making it more difficult to sell. So, in reality, backing out of a home purchase becomes a homebuying AND a home selling horror story.

This type of homebuying horror can’t always be prevented. However, when you have hired a title company that has extensive experience in the potential pitfalls of this complicated process, they can ease some of the burden.  

Clear Title is a title company in Pensacola, Florida, led by Board Certified Real Estate Attorney Stephen R. Moorhead. For over 30 years he has honed his skills in real estate closing and built a team of experienced, trustworthy experts to keep the horror out of homebuying. When you trust Clear Title, you’re getting 100s of years of combined experience in your homebuying court.

To schedule a meeting with our experts and explore our Pensacola title services, contact us today at (850) 202-8518 or visit ClearTitlenwfl.com.

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Pace, Florida 32571

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Pensacola, Florida 32502

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