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In a piece for the Wall Street Journal, staffer Katherine Clarke outlines a few of the interesting ways a home sale can fall through.

As she notes, emotions run high and there may be hidden agendas when buying and selling a home. From tenants who don’t want to move to the child who doesn’t want to see the family home sold, third-party players can block or undo a transaction. For agents, it can mean playing a combination of sleuth and therapist.

A real estate agent in Los Angeles had been showing a home for several months but couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t selling. Buyers seemed interested but would never be heard from again. Finally, the agent, Jade Mills, got a call from another agent.

She learned that the sellers’ housekeeper, fearful of losing her job once the home sold, was giving buyers a laundry list of woes. The neighbor’s dog was a barker, the canyon echoed loudly at night, and another neighbor hosted raucous parties.

“You’re never going to sell that house with her there,” the other agent told Ms. Mills.

She immediately called the sellers and asked them to make sure the house was vacant for showings. Within weeks, it found a buyer.

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