Most of us are familiar with the old expression about too many cooks in the kitchen. That old adage could definitely apply in the real estate business. There are a lot of parties involved in a real estate transaction. On one hand, that means all the tasks that have to be completed before closing day are divvied up and conquered more easily. On the other hand, the more people that are involved, the more likely it is that an issue might arise in some shape or form. The good thing is that most of the snags that delay closings can be easily resolved or avoided altogether. Let’s take a look at just a few of the most common stumbling blocks that might stall your journey to the closing table.

Your Financial Status Changed

The very last thing you want to do while waiting to close on a home is have any change in finances. Try to keep your debt-to-income ratio as steady as possible. This means no changes in income or job status, no large purchases, and no new credit cards. Any change in financial status will have to be taken into consideration before your final mortgage approval comes through and you’re clear to close.

Bad News on the Inspection

If a home inspection ends in undesirable results, the buyer will have to decide whether or not they want to move forward. The one good thing about a bad inspection report is that it can be used as a bargaining chip. If the buyers do want to move forward, then they can ask the sellers to either make repairs or take the cost of the repairs off the sale price.

You Don’t Act Quickly Enough

All requests for information, paperwork, and other needs must be fulfilled as quickly as possible. Time is always of the essence in a real estate transaction. If one party doesn’t move quickly enough, it could put the entire deal in jeopardy.

Paperwork Is Disorganized

Make sure to get any and all needed paperwork submitted in a timely manner. Whether your real estate agent needs a contract addendum signed, or your lender needs last year’s tax return, it’s important to act quickly. Everything should be organized and accounted for. If you submit an offer without a key piece paperwork, for instance, it could throw a major wrench in the works.

Interest Rates Go Up

It’s normal for interest rates to go up and down, but the last thing you want is for them to rise when you’re right in the middle of a deal. Get your mortgage paperwork in order and get that approval as soon as possible. That way you’ll be locked in to the correct interest rate, and you’ll be protected if interest rates do rise unexpectedly.


Everyone needs to be on the same page for a real estate deal to close without any snags. Double and triple-check to make sure that every stipulation set forth in the contract is clear; all dates are realistic and agreed upon; and the seller and buyer know exactly what does and does not convey with the sale of the house. Don’t let a deal fall through because one person misunderstood a certain detail.

Appraisal Issues

Sometimes a house doesn’t appraise for the agreed-upon sale price. If this happens, there are several things that can be done. The lender and buyer can order another appraisal as a second opinion. If it still comes in under the contract price, it’s time for renegotiations. The seller can concede and lower the price to the appraised value. Or the buyer and seller can split the difference, with the seller lowering the cost some and the buyer bringing some cash to the table to make up the rest of the difference.

Unrealistic Contract Dates

Sometimes there’s just not enough time to get everything done. When you and your agent sit down to write an offer on a house,the dates you put forth in the contract should leave enough time for all parties to accomplish their tasks. Make sure there’s plenty of time to have all inspections and repairs completed and get all paperwork in order.

By no means is this a comprehensive list of every little thing that could delay your closing. There are lots of other possible stumbling blocks that can cause things to grind to a halt. These are just some of the most common issues that arise from time to time. But don’t worry; as long as all parties are willing to work together to resolve them, you’ll get to the closing table sooner than you think.


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