These Are the Most Common Problems That Delay Home Sales

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  • After an offer is made on a home, problems can still arise.
  • There are some common issues that could lead to a delay.
  • Both buyers and sellers should be aware of potential pitfalls. 

Will any of them affect your sale?

When a buyer makes an offer to buy a home, both the buyer and seller generally want the sale to go through as quickly as possible and with as little stress as possible. Sellers want to collect their money and move on while buyers want to embark on their new adventure and begin building equity by paying down their mortgage loan

Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen. A number of potential problems could delay or derail a sale -- including the following common issues identified by the National Association of Realtors. 

These issues can interfere with a home sale going through

According to the National Association of Realtors, these are the problems most likely to result in a delayed contract:

  1. Problems with buyers getting financing, which accounted for 22% of issues delaying a sale for a property under contract 
  2. Issues with the appraisal, which affected 22% of sales
  3. Problems with the home inspection or an environmental issue, which collectively impated 10% of sales
  4. Issues with the title or deed which caused problems in 10% of cases
  5. Contingencies stated in the contract that were not fulfilled, which were the underlying cause of 5% of delayed contracts 

Financing problems can arise when buyers do not get pre-approved for a home loan and they over-estimated how much they would qualify to borrow. These types of issues can also happen if something has changed between the buyer's pre-approval and final approval. For example, if a buyer changed jobs or took on a ton of other unrelated debt, this could cause a loan closing issue.

Appraisal problems happen because lenders want to make sure the fair market value of the home, as determined by a professional, is large enough to act as sufficient collateral. If a home appraised too low, lenders might not lend borrowers the amount of money they need to buy it. 

Inspection issues can arise when an inspector discovers something wrong with the property and the buyer and seller can't agree on who should fix it or how much of a discount, if any, the buyer should receive due to the issue.  

Title and deed problems happen when a title search reveals there are problems with the seller's ownership. For example, if there's a lien on the property or if there's an unexpected easement, this can cause issues.

Finally, contingencies are other conditions a buyer includes in the contract. If they are not met, then the sale doesn't have to go forward until they are.

How to avoid these issues in your home sale

Both buyers and sellers can take steps to try to avoid running into one of these problems.

Sellers should make sure they confirm a buyer is pre-approved, and they should set the price of the property fairly to reduce the chances it won't appraise for enough. Sellers also need to disclose any other competing claims on the property. 

Buyers can do their part by getting pre-approved for a loan and being realistic about what type of inspection issues they should anticipate a seller will fix. 

If both parties work to avoid these common problems, hopefully a delay can be avoided so the home purchase can be completed quickly and easily.

Our Research Expert

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