Recipe for a trouble-free real estate deal

Don't underestimate power of preapproval, local appraiser

Home-sale problems usually derive from three sources: property inspections, the buyer’s financing, or the appraisal of the property. Any one of these can crater a deal. Being proactive is the secret to avoiding problems, if possible.

It can’t be emphasized too much how important it is to have the property fully inspected by qualified local inspectors. Check the permit history and ask the sellers for answers to any questions you have.

Along with this, sellers should disclose what they know about the property that might impact a buyer’s decision to buy or the price she’d pay, even if not required to do so by law. State disclosure laws vary from one state to the next.

Sellers who fear that telling all will keep their home from selling should consider the consequences of concealing something negative, like a leaky roof or a basement that floods when it rains. Withholding information and getting sued later is likely to be far more costly and time consuming than coming clean even if you have to make a price concession to compensate the buyer for defects she’ll need to repair.