Home sellers, before signing on the dotted line ... What sellers need to know in order to make the sale go through. After you've waited impatiently for home prices to rise, you're finally ready to sell. And you have an offer or two. You probably want to go ahead quickly with the deal so you can buy a new home or move to another city. But don't get too excited before you know certain facts. Is the buyer preapproved for the mortgage amount? Preapproval is basic, but it doesn't guarantee that the buyer's loan will go through. One study showed that financing problems were responsible for 40 percent of failed deals. Your agent will check with the buyer's agent to make sure the buyer has provided the documentation the lender requested. Consider a "financing contingency" agreement so you can entertain other offers if financing can't be arranged by a certain date. If the buyer is getting an FHA insured loan, your real estate agent will help you correct problems ahead of time that might be flagged in the appraisal, such as chipping paint. Your agent might suggest that you do your own inspection to catch problems early. Consider a cash offer A buyer who doesn't need financing is more of a sure bet. A cash bid is typically lower, but the deal is faster to close and doesn't require an appraisal. Some sellers feel that avoiding the appraisal process can compensate for a somewhat lower offer. Prepare for the appraisal First, price the home according to your real estate agent's advice. It should be in line with comparable homes in the area. Still, appraisers are often overly conservative in their valuations, even as home prices are rising. As a seller, you need to think about what to do if the appraisal is low. In one case, the appraisal came in $5,000 short. The seller dropped the price by $2,500 and the buyers brought $2,500 more to the table. Solve title problems early A preliminary title report doesn't tell the whole story of your property. Have your real estate agent check for any problem that will delay the closing. He or she will determine whether the title was actually recorded; whether an easement was granted that you aren't aware of; or whether there's a lien of some sort on the property that you don't know about.