Home sales decrease amid drop in contract signings

Real estate experts stress that homebuyers and sellers agree, well in advance of a purchase, to conduct a home inspection that will reveal any lingering issues with the property. Individuals who do not solicit a Washington, D.C. home inspector to investigate the property in question could be helping to contribute to declining pending home sales currently being observed by real estate professionals.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) tracks monthly pending home sales, which occur when two parties sign a contract agreeing to a home purchase, even though the deal is not yet legally closed. In December 2011, pending home sales declined by 3.5 percent to 96.6 after reaching a 19-month high of 100.1 in November.

Contract failures are caused by a variety of potential hitches in the sales process, including a lender's denial of a mortgage application or a misunderstanding involving the sales price of a home.

"Contract failures remain an issue … but homebuyers are not giving up," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said. "Housing affordability conditions are too good to pass up. Our hope is lending conditions will gradually improve with sustained increases in closed existing-home sales."

Buyers and sellers can write contingencies into their contract that allow either party to back out of a deal that has not yet been legally completed. For example, some buyers may demand a clause that allows them to strike down a deal if they are unable to sell their current property in a timely manner. Another reason sales fall through has to do with the home inspection – if the home does not pass inspection or either party refuses to finance any agreed-upon repairs, the deal could collapse.

To prevent this from occurring, homeowners should regularly contact a local home inspection company to ensure their properties remain in optimal condition.