Petty Issues That Can Disrupt Deals

May 28, 2019

Home buyers and sellers can disagree over seemingly frivolous issues, which can sometimes jeopardize a sale.® recently interviewed real estate professionals to find out some of the most common petty issues that can pop up in a transaction.

For example, missing cover plates is one that agents said they hear often. “One of the funniest—and most annoying—requests I get is for sellers to replace missing cover plates on light switches and outlets,” Amy Berglund, a real estate professional with RE/MAX Professionals City Properties in Denver, Colo., told®. “Usually they’re missing in places such as laundry rooms and basements—think places that aren’t used that much. It is an incredibly affordable fix.”

Another one that agents sometimes hear buyers complain about: missing blinds. Jen Horner, a real estate professional with RE/MAX Masters in Salt Lake City, knows this gripe well. The buyer makes an offer, but on the final walk-through, they’ll notice the seller moved out and took the blinds, rods, and drapes with them.

“When looking at a property, buyers incorporate window dressings into their overall impression of the house,” she told®. “And if they are not clearly excluded in the contract, window dressings belong to the home. Most of the time, the seller will agree to replace or reimburse the missing items. But if a seller refuses, we’ve seen it become a contentious issue that threatens the entire deal—even though you’ve made it to the walk-through.”

Sometimes agents say buyers will set their sights on seemingly little things inside the home that belong the seller and try to get them for free. Horner recalls an experience where a $100 foosball table almost threatened to kill an entire deal.

“During a 2017 sale of a $1.2 million home in Utah, and after months of negotiations, the deal literally came down to a last-minute ask for a foosball table worth about one hundred bucks,” Horn told®. “Through some professional real estate therapy on both sides, we were able to avoid this final barrier and close on the property. Most importantly, both the buyer and seller were pleased with the outcome.

But the incident taught Horn that completing an agreement between a buyer and seller can sometimes come down to “seemingly very small terms” in the contract. “These types of issues, which might seem petty on the surface, are oftentimes rooted in buyers and sellers psychologically wanting to feel like they got a final win before the deal closes.”

6 Surprisingly Petty Issues That Can Sabotage a Home Sale,”® (May 28, 2019)