The USA home buying process is radically different from the UK process. Here are some of the features that actually change the way people behave:
- An offer is made with a goodwill payment of 1%. This acts to reduce the likelihood of people making multiple offers…
- If an offer is accepted by the seller it’s a legally binding contract for the seller, the buyer can still pull out at several check-points but the seller cannot continue to market the property. This acts to prevent gazumping.
- The buyer employs a professional to conduct an inspection. Professional? This person is not a qualified surveyor, no qualifications required. The fellow who conducted my inspection was like a caring dad who checked every window, every piece of equipment. He lit the oven, made ice, turned on the washing machine, checked all the lights and electric circuits, the boiler etc He gave me advice on how to look after the property and questions I should ask the Home Owners Association (HOA). He recommended that I attend a HOA meeting. He made observations about the other tenants. He was awesome. A buyer can pull out of the agreement after an inspection.
- Immediately prior to the money exchanging there is a ‘walk through’ of the property in the estate that it will be handed over. The money is not exchanged if the purchaser is unhappy with the walk through. My ‘Inspector’ explained that a resident may have a big leaving party that leaves broken windows and toilets etc. The final walk through makes sure that they pay for any damage between agreement and departure. Nice.
Meanwhile my inspection raised lots of minor functional questions, like
- How does the intercom work – there’s no in apartment equipment – is there a cell phone app for that?
- Are those sockets for internet connections or phones?
- Can I put more powerful bulbs in that light fitting?
It feels good to shift to asking trivial functional questions, clearly the big stuff is working well. The apartment is 4 miles from work and has ample bike storage in the basement. I could get fit in the summer. The route to work is through prettily housed suburbs.
As the inspector checked the apartment I pondered the view, watching the tail’ lights of city traffic. I felt at home. It felt right despite being so very different from my little hidden garden cottage in Reading. We all change as does the world around us. Time for a high rise garment with scary balcony…..