By Camilla McLaughlin, for The Associated Press
Few things induce anxiety and frustration more than having a home sale delayed, especially when your belongings have already been loaded onto the moving truck.
Yet few paths from contract to closing are without an obstacle or two. Good real estate agents are attuned to red flags that come up, but consumers should also be aware of potential problems and how to avoid many bumps in the road.
"Purchasing a home is an intensely personal and emotional process," says Walt Danley a Coldwell Banker agent in Phoenix, Ariz. "It is not uncommon for minor hiccups to become major issues due to the emotional nature of the transaction."
Here are 10 of the most common red flags:
1. The buyer has an existing home to sell.
Even if potential buyers have a mortgage preapproval and claim they can buy without selling their current home, when the deadline nears some of these buyers balk. Quite often, the mortgage approval disappears, says Don Bruemmer, a broker with Plumb & Company in Salt Lake City, Utah.
To troubleshoot a dilemma like this, and spare sellers the loss of valuable days on market, Bruemmer specifies a mortgage contingency requiring the buyer to apply to two mortgage companies. A refund of the deposit would only be given if the buyer is declined by both companies.
2. Underground oil tank or an old septic system.
Environmental issues can muck up a deal, especially in states with strict regulations. Underground oil tanks were popular in the Northeast at one time but are now considered a hazard because of potential leaks. Typically real estate agents suggest sellers remove tanks before putting the home on the market.
Septic regulations vary by municipality and some states, such as Massachusetts, require a system be inspected and meet strict standards before the home is sold. The repair or replacement can be expensive and time consuming so sellers should get the necessary approvals ahead of time. However, they should follow the timelines and dates required by their state and/or municipality.