Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

5 of 6
BACKNEXT
5. No contingencies
5. No contingencies
When signing a sales contract, buyers usually have to put up 1% to 3% in "earnest money," which they don't get back if they pull out of the deal except under certain conditions spelled out in the contract.

Sellers try to limit the grounds for canceling, and inexperienced buyers may sign contracts that don't include common exceptions, such as uncovering major problems during the home inspection, failing to obtain financing and failure of the house to appraise.

Failure to obtain financing is common these days because lenders have become very picky; underwriting is very strict.

Even if your mortgage company is still willing to finance your purchase, the house itself may be worth less than you've contracted to pay for it, and the lender will pull its approval.

With residential real estate markets still slow, sellers usually accept contingency clauses, but if they resist, it may be better to rethink the deal. Losing a deposit of $2,000 to $6,000 on a $200,000 home hurts.

NEXT: 6. Not budgeting for insurance

Last updated April 21 2010: 2:51 PM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
10 of the best beaches near airports Wait out your layover in the transit lounge? Or grab some sun, sand and surf? More
World's Top Employers for New Grads For an exclusive CNNMoney list, research firm Universum Global surveyed business students at colleges around the world to see where they most want to work. More
A White House press briefing as told by CNN's sketch artist The White House started banning cameras during some briefings, so CNN sent in sketch artist Bill Hennessy. More

Special Offer