Top 10 Things That Can Go Wrong During a Real Estate Transaction

Real Estate Agent with | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 228209

Top 10 Things that can go wrong during a real estate transactionTop 10 Things That Can Go Wrong During a Real Estate Transaction

Every day in real estate is a fresh, new day!  I think that's what most of us love about this business - there's never a day that is just 'mundane' - in fact, no two transactions are ever the same!  Some go so smoothly, you arrive at the Closing table and can't believe that there hasn't been on bump in the road.  

Others...well, not so much!

The past year, we've had some of the most unpredictable things go wrong in this business - here are my top ten for the year (so FAR)!

10.  Buyer remorse - In an era of bidding wars, it's human nature to want to 'WIN!'  A few days after winning the bidding war, especially if buyers have gone significantly higher than list price, buyers tend to feel a little remorse.  Some, to the extreme, ultimately making the decision to terminate the Contract to purchase the home.

Top 10 things that can go wrong when selling your Charlotte home9.  Unknown structural issues arise - One of the BEST ways to avoid this is to have a pre-inspection when you are listing your home.  This way, if there are structural issues, you have time to remedy them prior to the sale.  Buyers are typically terrified (albeit they don't always need to be terrified) of structural issues, which can cause a cancellation of the sale.

8.  SURPRISE!  You've got MOLD! - This can also be a deal-killer and again, can be avoided with a pre-inspection.

7.  Buyer has been pre-approved - but, wait!  Buyer has NO CREDIT! - Yes, this has happened to a buyer for one of my listings.  The lender issued a pre-approval letter based on income only.  The buyer had NEVER had a car loan, credit card or student loan and therefore, when the documents got to the underwriter, the file was rejected!  Of course, the deal fell through but, the seller was able to quickly take the back-up buyer and seal the deal!

6.  WAIT!  You can't take it with you! - Listing agents review the Offer to Purchase in NC with a Seller when the listing documents are prepared.  We also review the FIXTURES with Sellers when we receive an Offer.  MOST Sellers get it but, on occasion, a Seller will remove an item deemed a permanent fixture and the Buyer is NOT happy about it!  This typically happens with items like curtain rods, chandeliers and even refrigerators.  Conversely, Buyers think that all appliances remain with a property - check to be certain that you've included your request for refrigerator, washer or dryer - items that ARE personal property in our state but, may not have been in your exit state.

5.  Sellers failed to properly complete repairs - As a Seller, your best best is to hire a contractor to make all of the repairs.  Be certain that this contractor offers a warranty as well.  Having someone handle all repairs also makes your life easier - after all, you are packing to move and this is a very busy time for you.  You honestly don't need to be running to Lowe's to buy caulking or plumbing items - just let someone else handle that work for you.  This way, if it is not done properly, the responsibility falls on the contractor to come back and make it right.

4.  Lender drops the ball - One reason to be SURE to use your Realtor® recommendations when it comes to lenders.  Just as all real estate agents are not created equally, nor are lenders!  We recenlty had to pull a loan from a lender who had put the Buyers' file on the back burner and truly FORGOTTEN about the file!  Thankfully we realized this (yes, the Seller side realized it first!) in time to have the new lender meet the Closing deadline.  We (the Sellers) demanded that the Buyers utilize one of our preferred lenders who got the job done in 10 days...appraisal and all!

Don't let these mishaps happen to you when selling your home3.  Faulty appraisal - This happens for a variety of reasons but, the top two reasons are that the appraisers have difficulty showing appreciation within a community whereas it's easy to show depreciation.  The second reason this occurs is appraisal management companies send appraisers from out-reaching areas and they are not familiar with the comparable properties enough to generate an accurate appraisal.  

2.  Buyer Converts Auto Lease to Purchase (or, buys a new car!) - This doesn't fly with lenders if your debt-to-income ratios are tight.  It's best not to make ANY purchases with credit or your savings until AFTER the Closing.  This way, you aren't in jeopardy of losing your new home and all of the money that you've spent in preparation of being the new homeowner (inspection costs, due diligence fees, earnest money deposit, appraisal costs, Title search costs, etc.)

1.  The SELLER decides not to SELL! - Yes, I've had a BUYER change their minds on the day before Closing (and even the day OF Closing) but, never a Seller!  We had a Buyer who had worked through inspections, appraisal and was headed to Closing, only to receive the call, "I'm so sorry but, the Seller has changed their mind - they're not going to be selling their home!"  Buyers have the right to recoup damages, including but, not limited to any and all costs associated with their home purchase.  If you're thinking of selling your home, be 100% sure that you are prepared to go through with the sale before you list your home for sale!

Thinking of listing your Charlotte home?  Give us a call or text at (704) 491-3310 or email for more information on avoiding the pitfalls of selling your Charlotte home.


© Debe Maxwell | The Maxwell House Group | | Top 10 Things That Can Go Wrong During a Real Estate Transaction

Comments (120)

Doris Freeman
Reliant Realty - Gallatin, TN
Broker/Agent, Realtor

Great starter list, I'm sure we could ALL add a new one and have an endless list.

Jul 26, 2015 12:45 AM
Gay E. Rosen
Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty - Larchmont, NY
As Real as Real Estate Gets!

Debe - great post.  SO many things can happen, and all perilous unless precautions are taken beforehand.  I hated the last item tough..  I would hate to have a seller change his/her mind.. yikes!

Jul 26, 2015 12:46 AM
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile

Debe, congrats on the Feature.  Much deserved.  In my experience, there is nothing new in real estate, but there are so many old possibilities that we never know what is coming, but we hear footsteps.  We make every effort to prepare our clients, but let us not forget to prepare them for the unexpected.  How many times have we heard, "So, is that everything?", " Is there anything else we need to do?"  Often things we specifically cautioned our clients not to do is exactly what they do!  There next remark begins with "But we thought..."

Jul 26, 2015 04:54 AM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Great list which just goes to show we have to continually be on our toes.

Jul 26, 2015 09:32 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Debe,

Have had quite a few of these, including the "his" & "hers" Mercedes purchase & the seller changing their mind, because our favorite B of A sold the mortgage & the new bank let them modify the loan. Good for them, but frustrating for agents & buyer after babying this SS transaction for more than two years.

Jul 26, 2015 01:07 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Dörte Engel - Oh, no!  That stinks for you guys but, I'm sure the homeowners are thrilled.

Jul 26, 2015 01:27 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Debe,

This was not recently. Back in the day, when we were knee-deep in distressed properties only & working like maniacs for not much pay. Glad to see, that normal transactions are back.

Jul 26, 2015 01:42 PM
Ernest Villafranca
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate - Oakland, CA
3923 Grand Ave. Oakland CA, 510-418-9443

My top two:

  1. The lender
  2. the appraiser

I cross myself when we get into the loan approval process.

Jul 26, 2015 02:11 PM
George DiGregorio
Zenith Mortgage Advisors - Hopkinton, MA

Some are avoidable, some aren't.

The top two deal killers I have seen are home inspection and appraisal, but I have had several clients get laid off during the process. When the final employment verification is done, it gets caught.

Jul 27, 2015 12:10 AM
Robert Hicks
United Country River City Realty - Savannah, TN

Yep,,, had a few of those myself..

Jul 27, 2015 12:40 AM
Amy Gutschow
RE/MAX - Sheboygan, WI
Professional Real Estate

We are all in a very unpredictable profession.  These are great things to keep in mind and even to prepare a client for things like remorse they may feel - and tell them tomorrow if you start freaking out and feel you should not have done this, call me.  Its a totally normal feeling we deal with often - change is hard.

We are keepers of the contract and even though its unpredictable our job is to control all the parts we can.


Great points you listed.  Thanks for the article.



Jul 27, 2015 01:51 AM
Morris Real Estate Marketing Group
Morris Real Estate Marketing Group - Toronto, ON
Marketing for realtors made easy!

Great post Debe Maxwell

Jul 27, 2015 03:08 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

George DiGregorio - That about sums it up - 90% of the time!  

Amy Gutschow - And those that we have no control over seem the be the toughest part of our jobs, don't they!

Robert Hicks - Yes, wouldn't you love to be able to say that you hadn't experienced all of these!  LOL  

Jul 27, 2015 03:19 AM
Virginia Youngblood
DO-STAGE! LLC - an ASPM® Home Staging Company - Charlotte, NC
DO-STAGE! LLC - Home Stager - ASPM®

Great post, Debe, both for the seller and the buyer . . . and really for all of us to remember these necessary, helpful points.

This is great for us all to bookmark to have to share with clients. As a Home Stager, I was, once again, impressed to know what you as a Realtor/Broker have to deal with in all of your real estate endeavors.

Jul 27, 2015 08:30 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I had a seller change their mind earlier this year...I was representing the buyer. It was devastating...but ultimately he found another house he liked better!

Jul 27, 2015 10:48 AM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

Stuff happens, but you've given an excellent list. I once had buyers pre-approved and awaiting closing, but in the meantime they bought and financed a new vehicle, thus killing the transaction. Thank you for sharing this list!

Jul 28, 2015 04:04 AM
Anthony Hagan

Great post and good tips!

Anthony Hagan- Charlotte Home Inspector 

Jul 28, 2015 07:35 AM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Debe, some can be avoided while others are not so easy to fix. Great list for buyers, sellers and all of us.

Dec 23, 2015 03:23 AM
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Hey Debe, I was doing some research on this topic and ran across your post and this one That is pretty much the same article. Not sure you gave permission but thought you'd like to know :) Your post definitely inspired me though 

Aug 18, 2017 02:18 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

O M G!  He even left common phrases that I use like back burner and sending appraisers from out-reaching areas!  THANK YOU for sharing this with me, Tammy Emineth! People are so brazen, aren't they?! 

Aug 18, 2017 03:09 PM
Tammy Emineth

I know! It;'s so hard to keep tabs on all these posts we have out there. Your post came up #1 and his was #2! Ugh... 

Aug 18, 2017 03:15 PM

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