Reasons Why Real Estate Deals Go South at the Last Minute (and How to Avoid Them)

Anybody who’s been through the sale or purchase of a home knows that “under contract” is just that: It doesn’t mean a deal is done. Seasoned real estate professionals can tell you there are common reasons why transactions get called off at the eleventh hour.

Getting a Good Real Estate Agent is Key

Avoiding the majority of last-minute house heartbreak can boil down to having an experienced real estate professional involved. They will:

· Negotiate on their party’s behalf throughout the transaction

· Confirm bank appraisal results

· Work with the home buyer (if applicable) on getting approval for a mortgage, if needed

· Follow up with attorneys as they review/prepare key documents

Now, on to the potential pitfalls that can keep a house from changing hands.

Inspection Issues

Inspections are a part of due diligence for both sellers and buyers; both must act in good faith to avoid nixing a deal. If you’re a seller, it’s key to hire a reputable home inspector who will produce a solid report so you can be upfront and avoid surprises for a buyer.

If you are a buyer, get your own inspection and look for red flags, including but not limited to: mold, pest infestations, foundation and structural issues, and roof leaks or damage.

On the other end of issues, an overeager inspector might bring up a bunch of smaller things. These can usually be negotiated either by fixing them or factoring them into the sale price. Both parties need to decide what they can live with.


A sale is often contingent on three things: a buyer’s financing approval, the buyer’s ability to sell their current home, and a bank appraisal that determines the contract price is in the same range as the home’s worth. In a hot market where buyers are ready to pay more, it’s common for this appraisal contingency to be dropped.

An exception is when the buyer’s bank appraises the property for less than the contract price, compelling the buyer to come up with the difference; if they can’t, the seller can lower the price, or the deal won’t go through.

Title Issues

Many closing documents are involved in the sale of a property. During the course of preparing for closing, the title search may uncover obstacles to finalizing the deal, including outstanding liens, public record errors, past bankruptcies, and missing heirs, among others. Fortunately, because Attorney’s Title Group has attorneys in house, we can easily review documents, prepare documentation to correct heirship and title issues, and file suit to fix land disputes.

Unexpected Events

Sometimes things just go wrong. A flood or fire can lead a buyer to decide it’s impossible to make the property whole. An approved buyer can experience a life event such as a job loss, a lawsuit, or a divorce, toppling the whole arrangement.

The bottom line: A real estate deal boils down to a meeting of the minds between buyer and seller. Experienced real estate professionals can help manage the emotions involved and work together get everyone to the closing table with no issues.

Ready to schedule your closing with Attorney’s Title Group? Contact us at (501) 734-2298 or email: