Massachusetts Real Estate


How to Prevent Home Sale Issues Before Listing For Sale

Fixing Home Sale Issues

Preventing home sale issuesWhen selling a home there are numerous issues that can crop up during your Real Estate transaction. In order to ensure your home sale to go smoothly is to make sure you tackle some of these issues before they even rear their ugly head! A well informed seller is one that will more than likely increase their chances of sitting at a closing table in a quicker time frame with a lot less stress.

There is nothing that can make the process of selling a home more painful than having your home on the market, getting an acceptable offer and then weeks later have the sale fall apart for any number of reasons. If you are well armed and know some of the most common home selling issues there is a greater chance that will never have to even think of having your transaction derailed.

There are many home seller's that like to "play things by ear" and just hope they find a buyer will that temperament just to say "don't you worry about a thing Mr. Seller we love your home no matter what". These are the kind of seller's who learn fast that finding that kind of home buyer is like an Eskimo looking for ice.

A quick review of some of the most common home sale issues include home inspection items whether it is general disrepair, code violation issues, radon, mold, well water or pest issues. Some seller's never even take into consideration that any of these things could even possibly exist in their home. It is human nature to get comfortable with our surroundings and unless there is water pouring into the house or the heat won't come on many take their home for granted.

Another common issues that can cause a home sale to fall apart is the seller who has gone out and put a fabulous addition onto their home or maybe even one of those top of the line home theater systems in their basement. These sound like some really good improvements don't they? They sure are but not at the expense of getting a permit to have them!

I can't even begin to tell you how many home seller's try to save themselves a few bucks by not getting a permit for things they should. For some owners they are trying to avoid the local tax collector coming to their home and ultimately increasing what they pay in yearly taxes.

What many home seller's however do not realize is that there is a strong possibility this will come back to bite them when they least expect it. Not too long ago I had a seller client in Franklin Mass who thought he knew more about selling Real Estate than I do. If you are a Realtor reading this, I am sure an eye brow is raised right now because we all have experienced the seller who can't be reasoned with. He unfortunately did not get a permit for something he should have. Fortunately for him it did not end up killing the sale but certainly could have!

Some of the other more common stumbling blocks to a home sale include the buyer's financing. Of course you want to do your home work and make sure the buyer is financially qualified to buy your home. In some markets another hot topic has become appraisal issues.

When Real Estate markets change rapidly it is harder for appraisers to accurately come up with a Real Estate value. This is because often times home sales lag what is going on in the market creating a disparity in what a home seller receives as an offer on their home and what an appraiser can use to justify the accepted price.

The bottom line is to make sure you do your home work before you put your biggest asset up for sale. A well prepared seller is more than likely going to be a happy one!


About the author: The above Real Estate information on Preventing home sale issues was provided by BillRE/MAX Executive Realty Hopkinton Mass Real Estate Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 26+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

For Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate and home sales see Maximum Real Estate Exposure

I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Upton, Southborough, Westborough, Ashland, Holliston, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Franklin, Grafton, Northboro, Shrewsbury, Bellingham, Northbridge, Uxbridge, Sutton, Millbury, Worcester, Millville, Douglas, Natick and Wayland MA.

Building lasting relationships by helping people move in and out of Metrowest Massachusetts for the last 26 years.


Bill Gassett is a thirty-two year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys providing helpful information to buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame and others.

Comment balloon 33 commentsBill Gassett • October 14 2013 12:33PM


Hi Bill   Yes my eyebrow went up ! How many times do we get my brother said ,my uncle said ,my friend said . Bottom line is listen to the professionals and do your homework .It is a tricky marketplace . Sellers do not want their house to come back on the market so let's  try to avoid problems before they become issues .

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) almost 6 years ago

Hannah you hit the nail on the head! It is amazing how so many family members become "Real Estate Experts" when someone is selling a home. Knowing what to think about before hand goes a long way in eliminating problems down the road!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 6 years ago


Your post is right on target . . . . it's far better to prevent . . . .  then try to overcome.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) almost 6 years ago

Bill, well deserved feature and certainly fantastic advice for the home seller. I had to laugh about the seller who didn't get a permit because they didn't want to pay more tax. I don't know about there, but here you get taxed for what you have. It doesn't matter if the work was legal or not. The building department and the tax assessor's office do not speak. 

Bitten in the butt comes to mind.... 

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) almost 6 years ago

Thanks very much Lou! So Andrea how does the left hand know what the right is doing if there are no permits pulled? In other words how would the assessor know a basement was finished if the seller did not pull a permit?

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 6 years ago

Bill - I am so glad to see this post.  I have been raising the points for 15 years and people look at me like I am crazy.. It's just those unreasonable buyers!  There is nothing the seller has to do to prevent things from fall ing apart.  Now, I have amazing post to help convince my colleagues that one of the best in the industry has the same point of view.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 6 years ago

Thanks Joan - click on the link to common home selling issues. I think you will be very impressed with this post. In fact if you want to share it to your social networks I would be very grateful!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 6 years ago
I agree with you. Before making any major home improvements, it is important to get those permits so it won't kill the deal.
Posted by Rosie Moore (Serving Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City) almost 6 years ago

Bill, success or failure - it all depends on how seller would listen to his/her agent. As a listing agent, we do advice them.

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) almost 6 years ago

If there is anyway possible, I think it best to resolve home repair issues before listing.  Often sellers reduce their price because of needed repairs, and then a homebuyer comes in and discounts on price when they produce an offer, to cover those same repairs.


Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) almost 6 years ago

Bill I know of sellers who had to remove a deck  or take out a kitchen because of not getting the permits.  Really costly mistakes.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) almost 6 years ago

This is so true - fix the things that are wrong, get permits and/or remove non-permitted items before putting the home up for sale.  The sale will go much more smoothly.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!)) almost 6 years ago

Congratulations on the featured post. I will bookmark this and share it with sellers.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) almost 6 years ago

Thanks for your comments guys. It obviously makes sense from a sellers point of view not to create your own problems.

Jennifer - I bet the sellers were probably shocked that they had to rip out the work they had already done?

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 6 years ago
Excellent post Bill. We find in a lot of cases that sellers were truly not aware of permitting issues. Where we have issues with this is when they hire a contractor to do the work and the contractor advise the seller and obtain the necessary permits. We encourage our sellers to obtain all their inspections and certifications in advance. It just makes everything much less stressful.
Posted by Bill and MaryAnn Wagner, Jersey Shore and South Jersey Real Estate (Wagner Real Estate Group) almost 6 years ago

Thanks Bill and Maryann. You aren't kidding when you talk about the added stress to a transaction when right in the middle of it you have to go and get permits for work you may have done years ago. It just adds another layer of complexity to the transaction.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 6 years ago

Bill, the longer a seller has lived in the home, the more important it is for them to get a pre-listing inspection so they have time to work on issues. When a buyer comes in, they can see an item that needs to be fixed, but they reason it might take $1,000 to remedy when the seller can get it done by a professional for maybe $200.  Values escalate with the size of the issue

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 6 years ago

Bill, you bring up some valid points sellers should know prior to selling their home. Educating the seller is a must.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 6 years ago



You make some good points here, and preventative maintenance on issues that can arise is always the best practice, setting up your seller for issues that may arise and having them do everything in their power to make sure that they are resolved before the arise is sound advice!

Posted by Jared Garfield, Invest With The Best For The Highest Returns! (Rich Life Real Estate Team) almost 6 years ago

Getting ready to sell is like preparing to buy. Preparation whether you were a boy or girl scout or not is key. Be prepared. We lead, navigate, set expectations on the list, market, sell (repeat). Well put Mr Bill Mr Bill !

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) almost 6 years ago

Excellent post, Bill!  I sell a lot of older homes and some of the issues that pop up are scary -- including (the lack of) permits for work completed two owners ago.  Sellers who are prepared before the sign goes in the front yard makes such a big difference.

Posted by Kerry Lucasse, Your Urban Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant (eXp Realty - Urban Nest Real Estate Group) almost 6 years ago

What a great post.  Tons to think about and keep in mind.  Thanks for that.

Posted by Jay & Michelle Lieberman, Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos (Keller Williams World Class) almost 6 years ago

Great post Bill! Thanks for sharing the info. 

Posted by Mike Rankin, Mortgage Consultant (ClearPath Mortgage Solutions, Inc. NMLS #1394615) almost 6 years ago

Thanks guys I appreciate all the comments on my article!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 6 years ago

Nothing beats a pre-sale home inspection.  No surprises for the seller!!  Issues can be fixed prior to listing if need be.  What sellers and buyers seem to forget as anxious and emotional as they are so is the other party.  Emotions can be hair trigger in a real estate transaction.

Posted by Kevin Vitali, Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers (EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales) almost 6 years ago

Kevin I certainly agree that a pre-sale home inspection is a good move for a seller!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 6 years ago

Bill, we have run into lack of permits (or a permit not closed) on a remodel of some sort and yes it does create problems.  Another one right there with it is not getting a survey or ILC done prior to making a change to your property to make sure that where you are changing is on something you actually own vs. a neighbor owning it.

Posted by Kelly Young, Colorado Springs Real Estate ~ 719-226-0126 (The Platinum Group Realtors) almost 6 years ago

Kelly what really is amazing is how many buyers agents never ask when you can clearly see a major project was done in the house. We also have the survey issues from time to time as well.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 6 years ago

Bill, there is also the fact that a Seller can control who does any repairs that might come in up a pre-listing inspection, and save hundreds of dollars if not more.

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) almost 6 years ago

Nice selection of words Bill that discusses preventive measures on home sales issues that one may encounter before listing for sale. This is of great help to home owners planning to do such action. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) over 5 years ago

Thanks Katerina I am glad you enjoyed the article!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 5 years ago
Hello Bill, this is a great post. Very informative. You made the whole thing very easy to understand. Keep it up and stay the best!
Posted by Waynette Hoover Araj, Connecting your Dreams with the Right Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty) over 5 years ago
Thank you for sharing How to Prevent Home Sale Issues Before Listing For Sale, all the best!
Posted by Barbara Gregus, Sandia Park Paa-ko Homes (CARES Consumer Advantage Real Estate Services) over 5 years ago

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