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5 Reasons Pending Home Sales Fall Through

A pending sale is a critical step in the home selling journey, but there are various reasons why that sale could fall through.

5 Reasons Pending Home Sales Fall Through
5 Reasons Pending Home Sales Fall Through

What does “sale pending” mean?

A pending sale means that a homebuyer submitted an offer on a home and the seller has accepted it. The two parties have agreed on aspects of the deal, such as price, conditions, and possession date, and have executed a contract. The home will remain a pending sale until closing. While there is a contract, home sellers can continue to receive backup offers during the sale pending period.

Reasons pending sales fall through

If a seller accepts an offer, that doesn’t always mean the sale is set in stone. The deal could fall through for a variety of reasons. These are a few of the most common.


Finances are one of the most common reasons a pending sale will fall through. If a homebuyer’s mortgage isn’t approved, it will leave them without a loan to purchase the home. One way to avoid this situation as a buyer is to get preapproved for a mortgage. The preapproval process involves a lender who reviews your income, assets, credit history, and debts before granting you a loan in an amount they believe you can afford to pay off. Getting preapproved verifies to the seller that you’re serious about buying their home and that you can secure a mortgage, making you more likely to complete the purchase.

Home inspection

Most homebuyers will request an inspection of the property before finalizing the sale. This inspection will look at several components of the home, from the roof to the foundation, and it could potentially uncover a variety of significant home repairs that are needed. The buyer may use these issues to negotiate the purchase price or request that the homeowner make the repairs. If the buyer and seller cannot agree on a solution, the deal could fizzle out. The buyer may also use a home inspection contingency to back out of the deal altogether if the issues are too extensive.


Some lenders will require a home appraisal before they approve a mortgage. This appraisal provides the lender with an evaluation of how much the property is worth. If the appraised market value comes back significantly lower than the purchase price, the lender may deny the loan or lower it to the appraised amount. Click here to learn about seven factors that will affect a home appraisal.


A lien is a legal right or claim against a property by a creditor for issues such as unpaid debt or outstanding financial responsibilities. Any liens placed on the home need to be resolved before the sale of the property. A lender may decline to approve a mortgage until they are resolved, or the buyer could walk away.

The buyer’s home hasn’t sold

A home sale contingency, which states that the seller will wait to close on the property once the buyer sells their home, is fairly common. A home sale contingency typically lasts for thirty or sixty days. If time drags on and the buyer doesn’t sell their home, the sale could fall through.

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Kimmer Plunk

Based in Memphis and serving clients in West Tennessee and Northwest Mississippi. Serving others is a reward of its own and part of what makes me happy, and I've been doing that for 30 years through various activities including Girl Scouts, PTO, various board positions, unhoused ministry, and professional, award-winning teaching. I treat others the way that I want to be treated including being readily available, listening to your desires, answering your questions thoroughly, and walking you through the home purchase process. My ultimate goal is to see that you find the home of your dreams and experience the least amount of stress during the process.

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