Smooth As A Baby’s Bottom

This post goes out to my fellow Twitter buddy @gdeems who suggested I might write something like this.

Twitter snippet

It’s all about the fact that there is rarely a real estate transaction that doesn’t have some glitch in it. A lot of the times it’s a lot of glitches.

My job is to make most of the nuts and bolts of the real estate transaction invisible to the person I represent.  It doesn’t matter if I’m working with the buyer or seller. The reason I’m involved is that the person selling or buying the house doesn’t want to be involved in the thousands of tiny details and negotiations and whatnot that happen in the process.

True Story

I was referred to a nice couple that was selling their townhouse and buying a single family home. Let’s call them Mr. & Mrs. Nice.

As is usually the case in situations like this, the people I’m working with need the proceeds (the money!) from the sale of House #1 in order to buy House #2. They also need to be able to move from House #1 to House #2 pretty quickly or they would be truly homeless.

Now, a lot of people have contingency plans. They can move in with parents or relatives or friends temporarily. Unfortunately, Mr. & Mrs. Nice didn’t have that option. We needed to coordinate the sale of House #1 in the morning and the purchase of House #2 in the afternoon. Believe it or not, that’s not as easy as it sounds.

Everything was moving along swimmingly until the title company uncovered some nasty title issues with House #2. It seemed that there were all kinds of legal claims on the title that would keep the title company from being able to transfer legal title to Mr. & Mrs. Nice who were ready to move in. Ready to move in as in having all there stuff on a truck and being completely moved out of House #1.

It gets even more complicated when the lender for Mr. & Mrs. Nice’s buyer didn’t have the money ready at the settlement for their house at the time of settlement. That’s the money they needed to buy House #2.

Still with me?

Needless to say, this transaction was not as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Anything but….. ( Get it? I got a million of ’em)

Did everything work out in the end? (so to speak)

Yes. It took awhile and lots of stress and tears and gnashing of teeth. It finally worked out.

Financing Is Not As Smooth As A Baby’s Bottom

baby sleepingThis story is really more universal. So much so that when things go right, I’m surprised.


Unless you have gobs of cash stash somewhere (and lots’s of people do), you need financing. A mortgage.

That means you need to involve a loan officer, a processor and the dreaded mortgage underwriter.

No matter how much time you give the mortgage company to complete their process —things like the appraisal, verification of tax returns, verification of employment and lots more — they will always wait until two days before settlement to need or want one more piece of documentation about something. Many times it’s crazy stuff that you have no clue about.

Divorce decree from 20 years ago. One more re-verification of employment. Hey, we saw you were 30 days late on your $30 Visa bill five years ago. What’s that about?

Of course, the lender really doesn’t care about that little thing on the legally binding contract called a “settlement date”. They’re not party to the contract.

So, calls have to be made to the buyer, the seller, the title company and schedules need to be readjusted and changed.

That moving truck full of stuff?  Just park it.

Does Any Real Estate Transactions Go Smoothly?

Yeah. A few. Damn few.

Even when things are going smoothly I start getting nervous because they’re going smoothly. There is always something that throws a wrench into the works.

That’s why people hire real estate agents like me. I take the stress off their back (as much as possible) and deal with all the different people involved.

When we hit the finish line people are usually smiling.

That’s what it’s all about.

About Ken Montville

Ken Montville is a Realtor® and Associate Broker with RE/MAX United Real Estate in the beautiful Maryland Suburbs of Washington, DC. He has been selling nice homes since 1999. Way back in the 20th Century.

When Ken Is not doing the real estate thing he can be found all over social media in places too numerous to mention and he listens to jazz, reads a little (mostly non-fiction), hangs out with the Rotary Club of College Park, MD and can be found blogging at