It seemed like the perfect deal: an all-cash offer with no contingencies and a buyer looking for a closing date as soon as possible. Selling a house never looked so good…

But then a funny thing happened on the way to closing. It always does.

The story that follows illustrates how even a deal that may appear to be perfect is never that simple.

It all began with a simple addendum…

The buyer didn’t want any contingencies. He didn’t want us to pay closing costs or make any repairs after the inspection or even get our lot surveyed to figure out the exact boundaries. All he wanted was a copy of the homeowners’ association’s annual budget, a request he made in an addendum to his formal offer.

This was a problem. You see, my HOA has never been all that formal in its proceedings. We live in a relatively small neighborhood with no common areas. There isn’t a pool on which to pay insurance or a playground to keep tidy. All we have is a narrow strip of grass along the main road, a split-rail fence, and a few lights that illuminate the sign that stands guard at the neighborhood’s entrance. That’s it!

But relaying this information to our buyer’s agent wasn’t going to cut it. The buyer wanted a copy of the budget, plus summaries from the previous two fiscal years; in the absence of that, she wanted access to the HOA’s ledger.

This wasn’t a catastrophe – fortunately, the good people at the homeowners’ association were more than willing to hand over the annual expense reports and even call an emergency meeting to draft and pass a budget. However, they could have easily been less accommodating, and there’s a very real chance we could have lost out on selling a house because of an HOA document.

Things are back on track now. The buyer is happy, which means we are happy. Our closing date has been set – it’s looming far more quickly than I’d have dreamed of even a few months ago – and now, hopefully, there’s nothing standing in our way of moving out and moving on.

Did you ever have any unexpected hiccups when selling a house? Share them!

Libby Balke

Libby Balke