How you start is important, but in the end it's how you finish that counts, and the same is true for buying or selling real estate.
Having the offer conditionally accepted is just the beginning, a lot of things need to fall in place before we can uncork the champage and celebrate in style. The number of gotchas that can come up between now and the offer firming up (removal of all conditions) can be a little scary if you are not working with a professional.
So what does a professional do to ensure everything goes smooth and the transaction closes? Nothing. It's not your realtors goal to make sure they receive a pay-cheque, a true professional is acting for their client, ensuring their clients interests are always first and foremost. With that in mind, here are a few typical examples of problems that can arise after offer acceptance:
Inspection: Sometimes the house that looked good on paper and one or two visits, can reveal some defects that maybe weren't visible right away, and ony showed up after the hiring of a competent property inspector or trades person. So what options are available to the purchasers at this point? They can either walk away from the deal, or ask the Sellers to repair the defects before closing, or ask the Sellers to give a credit before closing.
Financing: This is such an important step, it really deserves a seperate blog entry of it's own. But needless to say, lots of things can go wrong, and working with an experienced mortage agent will be a huge asset. They have established relationships with lenders, and can get you all sorts of financing options. But as a general rule, don't commit to any other financial obligations while waiting for your mortgage application to be approved. So avoid buying any furniture or electronics on a "Don't pay til 2018" plans, avoiding losing your job for whatever reason are just a couple of examples of things to do. As a best practice, get a pre-approval letter before beginning your house search, and work with your mortgage agent to make sure your credit score is on the high end of 600. If there is a hitch in getting your financing approved, your realtor can ask for an extention to this condition, though understand that in a hot market, may not get it.
Status Document (condos): This really only applies if you are purchasing a condo, but you need to be relatively assured (and your lawyer will be the one to advise you on this one) that the condominium is in good financial state. A healthy reserve fund is crucial, and you want to be sure there are no unplanned projects in the pipeline. These can sometimes surprise prospective new buyers, and put a halt to proceedings. There is no real way to handle these types of issues, as your lawyer will give you sort of a Risk Assessment in his or her opinion, and then leave the decision with you.
As you can see, the right realtor will have prepared you for these things, and gone through the different options available once an issue arises. In most cases, everything can be worked out, it's only a matter of which party pays for it. And as your realtor, it's my job to make sure that you don't end up having to!