As I’ve mentioned before, I earn my commission when a transaction goes into escrow.
Here are 39 common seller challenges that I often must overcome to get a transaction closed.
Believe it or not, I’ve dealt with almost all of these items over my 44-year real estate career!
- The preliminary title search reveals liens against the property for back child support, unpaid property taxes, IRS, and state taxes totaling more than the net proceeds from the sale.
- Seller’s ex is on title and hasn’t signed the listing or purchase and sale agreement.
- Seller’s soon-to-be ex says she won’t sign off for closing unless she gets another $10,000.
- Seller loses motivation to sell because his job transfer fell through during escrow.
- Sellers, during escrow, decide not to sell because they got back together and canceled their divorce.
- Sellers refuse to adjust the sales price to the appraised value that is $25,000 less than the sales price.
- Sellers decide they can’t close because they can’t find another property they like.
- Sellers believe they know what the property is worth and refuse to allow access for the appraisal.
- Sellers are “too busy” to allow the home inspector access to the property.
- Sellers block access to the crawlspace and attic to prevent the home inspector from inspecting those areas.
- The home inspector discovers black mold and grass growing in the crawlspace due to a plumbing leak that has existed for several years.
- The home inspection is done during a heavy rain, and the inspector discovers water running into the crawlspace during the inspection.
- The home has a septic system and the seller’s wife notices liquid sewage bubbling up around her feet while taking a shower, two hours before the buyers are coming to do their walk-thru prior to closing.
- Sellers refuse to accept the home inspector’s findings as valid.
- Sellers remove the ceiling fan, draperies, and drapery rods because they “need them” for their next home.
- Sellers have never cleaned their gutters, the storm of the century happens, the gutters overflow and flood the crawlspace, requiring the installation of a $4,500 drain system prior to closing.
- Sellers can’t come up with the money to pay off the husband’s child support lien.
- The sellers are not on title for the property being sold (grandma will never know because she’s in the nursing home).
- The home inspector discovers standing water on a window sill and baseboard while inspecting on a rainy day, revealing water damage and mold in the wall beneath the window.
- Grandma Gracie is half-owner of the property and doesn’t think it’s a good idea for the kids to sell it.
- Sellers are in the middle of a divorce with no final written agreement about selling their home.
- One of the sellers is deceased and probate has not been completed.
- Elderly sellers are not mentally competent to enter into a contract.
- Sellers leave trash and personal property on the property when they move out.
- Seller’s turn off utilities before the buyer’s walk-thru, the gas company re-inspects as part of restoring gas service, and finds that the water heater will not light.
- The home inspector discovers severe freeze damage to the landscape sprinkler system caused by the seller’s failure to properly winterize the system.
- Sellers refuse to make repairs for deficiencies found in the home inspection.
- Sellers say needed repairs are “not their problem” because the problems existed when they bought the home.
- Sellers think the deal is done after accepting an offer and leave on a “road trip” without leaving any contact information.
- Sellers underestimate the difficulty of their move and fail to move out by closing.
- Sellers want to remain in the property after closing without compensating the buyers.
- Sellers remain in the property after closing with no post-possession occupancy agreement, then refuse to move, requiring the buyers to evict them.
- Sellers make repairs that aren’t required, then demand reimbursement as a condition of closing.
- Sellers’ closing for their next home is delayed and they refuse to move by the closing date.
- Sellers says “the roof’s just fine!” when the FHA appraiser requires a roof certification for the 30-year old roof that has shingles rated for a 20-year life.
- Seller’s lender files foreclosure three days before closing.
- Seller owes more than the property is worth and is unable to pay off the existing loans at closing.
- Seller’s stated four-bedroom home is actually a two bedroom home with two basement rooms lacking legal ingress/egress.
- Seller refuses to adjust the sales price to the appraised value and buyer refuses to pay the difference.
During his 44 years of full-time real estate experience, Phil has helped thousands of past clients buy and sell quality properties in the Western U.S.
Phil is one of only ten local Realtors® (of nearly 5,500) honored with the coveted “Realtor® Emeritus” award from the National Association of Realtors®, recognizing 40 years in real estate.