Editor’s note: Would you like to share your personal “Transaction from Hell” that you successfully (or unsuccessfully) closed? Send the “gory details” and what you did to close the transaction to hell@inman.com. Inman News will publish the best submissions in future columns.


Susan and Bill Morris wrote a contract for a house in a nice subdivision outside Columbia, S.C. Everything went well from the loan approval process through the closing. The next day the movers accompanied Susan and Bill to their new house. As soon as they opened the front door, they noticed a musty smell. Upon entering the kitchen, they discovered the source of the odor.


The sellers of the property had not properly capped the icemaker line that attached to the refrigerator and water had leaked onto the hardwood floors in the kitchen, dining room and living room. All the boards had curled and large gaps had developed between the hardwood boards. Susan and Bill called a contractor to give them an estimate on repairs. His answer was $9,462.


The anxious new owners are still trying to sort out this situation. Should the sellers’ insurance take care of this problem? Or the buyers’? Either way, Susan and Bill had to decide whether to move in or wait until the repairs were completed. If they waited, they would still have to pay the movers and reschedule. They had already sold their former house and buyers were moving into it the next day. They were devastated. What a nightmare! And it could so easily have been avoided.


Susan and Bill could have avoided this situation by doing a final walk-through inspection a few hours before the closing. This inspection must not be done a week or even a day before closing. It’s vital that it be done the day of closing. The buyer-side agent should accompany the buyer and bring along a checklist that will help them remember everything they see. Some of the tasks that should be performed are turn on all water faucets, flush all the commodes, turn on all the showers, turn on all the appliances and check the heating and cooling system. Take along a hair dryer and plug it into each wall outlet to make sure it works. Never finalize a sale until a through walk-through has been completed. That way, problems can be resolved before the buyer is stuck with them.


Jerry Fowler is the broker of Jerry Fowler and The Results Team Realtors in Columbia, S.C.


Do you have a transaction from hell? If so, we want to hear from you! Send it to Hell@inman.com.


Send a Letter to the Editor for publication.
Send a comment or news tip to our
Please include the headline of the story.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription