You've gotten to the point of getting the house under contract and you breath a sigh of relief thinking that now you're at the easy part of buying your home. Well, unfortunately, getting a signed contract is only half of the process. There are a number of reasons why a signed contract will fall through. I will highlight a few of them for you that could prevent you from getting to the closing table.
1) Appraisals: This can be one of the most nerve wracking part of the buying process. Unfortunately, there are some unqualified appraisers producing lousy appraisals. The best way to avoid this problem is to pick a good local lender who utilizes a good local appraiser. You also want to understand the value of the property you are buying so you don't overpay. Your realtor can help recommend good local lenders that he/she have had good experience with. If you are selling your home, you might think about doing an appraisal yourself to see what recommended repairs are needed, but be aware that the buyer's appraiser may still find issues.
2) Paperwork: If you are buying a house, be sure to have all of your paperwork done otherwise you'll experience delays in the buying process or may see the contract fall through. Many deals go into contract even before credit, assets or source of funds are checked.
3) Low balling a Seller: It is a buyer's market, but some buyers get over-confident and will low ball an offer or puff up the costs of recommended repairs. The best strategy is to be fair to the seller and act in good faith.
Remember that it is important to understand the home buying process and using a good realtor will give you a big advantage of getting the home you want without the possibility of losing the contract to another buyer.