As an experienced Realtor who talks with other Realtors about our transactions on a regular basis, I can tell you 100% that nearly all real estate transactions hit a snag somewhere in the process. Why does this always seem to happen and what can you do to make it less stressful for you as the buyer or seller?
The reason so many issues come up in real estate transactions is there are so many people and steps involved. It's nearly impossible to get a large number of people to do exactly what they need to do exactly when they need to do it. With so many steps in the process, it's a given that something will be forgotten or delayed at some point. Add to this the fact that not everyone involved has the same desired outcome, and you have a recipe for problems.
What can you do as a buyer or seller to lessen the problems and reduce the stress on you?
1. Hire a great agent. This point is so important it should be listed a few times here. If you hire an agent with little or no training or experience or a discount agent, you can expect to have a much more stressful experience. Experienced, top real estate agents know things are going to come up. They don't panic and add to the problem. They rely on their experience to know how to deal with any issue. Most of the time you may never even know there was a problem, because these agents just fix them or present them to you in a way that doesn't blow things way out of proportion. Discount listing agents don't manage the transaction. That's on the seller to do, so all the stress falls on you.
2. Trust the agent you've hired. There's a reason your agent is suggesting certain title companies or lenders or home inspectors to you to use. We work with these professionals every day. We know which ones do a good job and which ones don't. When you as the customer insist on using a someone just because they cost less or have better advertising that caught your eye, you are inviting more potential problems into the transaction.
3. Let your agent deal with the problem. That's their job. I've bought and sold real estate myself. I understand the temptation for most people to jump in and fix everything. The problem with that is you don't do this every day. You don't necessarily know the best resolution for your particular problem. You may end up making the situation much worse. It's not appropriate for example for you to contact the other party in the contract directly or for you to contact the other agent. If you want to be proactive, talk to your agent about a strategy to reach a resolution.
4. Don't panic. Most problems that come up happen on a regular basis, and most of them are easily resolved. Very few issues kill the deal. I had an insurance agent tell one of my buyers recently that a home wasn't insurable. I called a few other agents and within a couple hours found them 3 other quotes - one was even less expensive. Don't let things like this stress you out. Sometimes the transaction may not happen exactly as you want it to, but great agents can usually always find a fix that gets you to the closing table in a way that you feel satisfied.
5. Do what you need to do as quickly as you can. Buyers, get all the paperwork your lender asks for ASAP. They need those things to keep the process moving. Delays on your part may easily lead to delays in closing or cancelled deals. Hire any inspectors to come out right away. Don't procrastinate because you have time left in your inspection period. Something may come up in the inspection that requires further inspections or getting estimates for repairs. Sellers, get repairs done ASAP. The buyers are usually waiting for completed repairs to lock in their insurance and finalize their loan approval. Have your listing agent get the title search done when you list the property instead of waiting for it to go under contract. That will give you lots more time to correct any issues that may come up.
Keep in mind a real estate transaction is a multi-layered process with many people involved and many moving parts. When just one of those things doesn't work the way it's supposed to, many other things can be delayed or become problematic. If you do what you're being asked to do in a timely manner and you hire great professionals and rely on their advice, you greatly reduce the stress of buying or selling a house.