When Bad Things Happen to Good Buyers

Real Estate Agent with Compass NC: 277197

Angry coupleOr, 'What Real Estate Agents NEVER tell You'...

Bad news and ominous admonitions are never a good form of marketing. And face it, if your Realtor® starts your newly minted Buyer Agency relationship with dour predictions, you’ll probably rethink your commitment to them. We the people love good news!

So why caution you about potential scary spots lurking just ahead in the quicksand? Well, we typically don’t. But you DO need to know what they are so you can prepare ahead. Forewarned is forearmed!

The truth is, (and here I'm wagering you'll prefer someone who dares to be honest), these things actually happen every day:


Most Buyer Couples Fight. Terribly. As in near break-up fighting. It’s more than just “I like this, but she likes that’, or a philosophical disagreement over the smartest financial move. No, there can be some truly dangerous ground here. Example… Turns out he was married before but never told you. True, it lasted all of 27 days and they promptly split, but now the lender needs a certified copy of those divorce papers he burned all those years ago. Who knew?

A secret stash of money is hiding under a mattress bed.Last Minute Cash Debacle. You’ve got your loan Pre-Approval in hand and all is well. Then, that cash gift from your uncle Bert to help with your down-payment is actual ‘cash’ he’s been hiding from the government. You were too thrilled with his offer to ever wonder where it came from. But NO… this won’t fly with ANY lender. All the cards must be on the table from the start. And NO CASH.

Surprise Job Transfer. But wait! You’re UNDER CONTRACT to buy your dream house and money has changed hands! Can this be salvaged? Yes it can! You’ve got some big decisions to make, but with a great Realtor® at your side, you will get through this with minimal damage. We are, after all, nothing if not snappy life coaches!

Shocking Credit Score Dive. You just took advantage of that flash sale at Pottery Barn and put $3k on your card. Because you must have that fabulous sofa for the new digs! OOPS! Now your credit score crashed below acceptable underwriting levels and your loan is in critical condition. YES… they do run your credit more than once, so NO NEW PURCHASES until after closing.

Knight in armourThe list goes on. But lessons learned here? Have an honest discussion about love, money, credit and your future before you decide to buy together. This is not the time to hide anything, buy anything or expect your partner to be superhuman. Loans these days uncover our darkest secrets and spill them shamelessly. Expect the unexpected. And work with an HONEST Realtor who braves to tell you these things beforehand, so you can dodge bullets like a pro!


Jennifer Monroe, Realtor®/Broker

Refreshingly Honest Real Estate!

Thank's for leaving a sweet little note! It makes my day :)

© Jennifer Monroe, Realtor®/Broker 2015

Comments (75)

Jennifer Monroe
Compass - Charlotte, NC
Real Estate REALTOR®/Broker/Designer

So many great comments and I appreciate everyone!! Also nice to know I'm not the only agent that gets surprise panic phone calls about this stuff. We are all just children when it comes down to it ;-)

Aug 05, 2015 08:10 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Oh yes, I've heard of these scenerios.  Esp with the first time buyers--you really have to coach them on not buying lots of home furnishings just before closing, or opening up a new credit card. 

Aug 05, 2015 08:15 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Real estate can be an emotional roller coaster.  Real estate is stressful.  Add finances, credit concerns, record-keeping, and applying for a loan on top of it?  It can get or be explosive.  

What could possibly go wrong with all that, Jennifer Monroe??? 


Aug 05, 2015 08:21 AM
Dan Derito
Success! Real Estate - Brockton, MA

I've had to leave the room more than a few times to let them hash it out.  Marte Cliff, I haven't lost one to a divorce yet, thank goodness.

Aug 05, 2015 10:38 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Very good points to bring up at the start before it becomes an issue!

Aug 05, 2015 11:18 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

We had a buyer who was prequalified as a W-2 employee. When the lender obtained the buyer’s tax returns it turned out that he played in a band. He wrote of legitimate business expenses – such as depreciation – that reduced his income and tax liability. The reduction in 1040 reported income dropped him below the required debt/income ratio and he no longer qualified for the loan.

Another lender stepped in and saved the day but it was a stressful time!

Aug 05, 2015 01:39 PM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

I love this list.  We could all add stories and the list would go on forever.  I had a client who quit his job because he didn't like it!  The bottom line is that it is difficult for buyers to understand that there are strict lender guidelines.

Aug 05, 2015 01:57 PM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
HomeSmart - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Jennifer - We certainly have to counsel our clients on a number of things.

When I was in lending, I had a buyer go out and purchase a new car a week before closing. Guess what, he lost the house.

Aug 05, 2015 03:16 PM
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Broker/Owner
Travis Realty - Enterprise, AL
email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846

Last minute purchases or even attempts to get credit for a purchase AFTER the Closing have been my biggest issues.

Aug 06, 2015 12:24 AM
Liane Thomas, Top Listing Agent
Professional Realty Services® - Corona, CA
Bringing you Home!

We always give buyers a Top 10 list of "no-no's" during the buying process. It includes not cosigning for anything, not buying anything on credit, and not letting anyone run your credit.

As for fighting, they are on their own!

Aug 06, 2015 02:44 AM
Cat Zwicker, CRS
Desert Sky Real Estate, LLC - Redmond, OR
Down to Earth Service; Out of this World Results!

I think that I've had almost all of these scenarios at one time or another.  It's so hard to keep home purchase excitement from taking over the buyer's brain and making them forget the loan and finance guidance they have been given. 


Aug 06, 2015 06:43 AM
Bob Bloom
Cuzitmatters - Vancouver, WA
Agent Mentor & Coach

Did you really just say " starts your newly minted Buyer Agency Relationship with dour predictions?"

James Fenimore Cooper could take lessons from your prose. Cool.

Aug 07, 2015 12:47 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Jennifer Monroe - working with clients requires lots of patience! Not only we have to manage the transaction, we have to warn them for many things that they must stay away from! Bad things can happen to good buyers - however, with proper education and setting the expectations right from day one can avoid most of this.

Aug 07, 2015 02:27 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Any of us who've been in this business for while have experienced some or all of the issues you've raised. I remember years and years ago "firing" a buyer couple that had been referred to me because they needed a marriage counselor way more than they needed an agent.

Aug 08, 2015 12:08 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Those are situations that many buyers have faced, and it's never a pretty scenario.  Great post, Jennifer Monroe

Aug 08, 2015 07:12 AM
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

I'm utterly shocked!  Most couples fight??? 

Aug 12, 2015 10:36 PM
Jennifer Monroe
Compass - Charlotte, NC
Real Estate REALTOR®/Broker/Designer

LOL Jason Sardi! So glad we got all that out of our system years ago :) We're almost boring now!

Aug 12, 2015 11:02 PM
MaryBeth Mills Muldowney
TradeWinds Realty Group LLC - Braintree, MA
Massachusetts Broker Owner

How true  I always tell people before they buy a house together they need two things - a blood test and a credit report check - LOL!

Aug 13, 2015 10:50 AM
S. Leanne Paynter ☼ Broward County, FL
United Realty Group, Inc. - Davie, FL
Davie, Plantation, Cooper City & Weston Specialist

It's very important to advise buyers of things that can cause problems for them if they're not aware of them ahead of time.  Most people don't think twice about doing something like buying new furniture a few days before closing because they think it's a done deal but for some buyers it can cause a problem.

Aug 20, 2015 04:08 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

The shocking credit score dive...oh no!!! I had a buyer who closed a couple of months that had all in place and then started charging up the AMEX.  It was work related but hit hard on the credit. Thanks to our loan expert we survived!

Aug 20, 2015 05:02 AM