I read an article from the Texas Association of Realtors a few weeks ago and it reminded me how quickly a real estate transaction turns into a situation where professional advice is needed. It was spawned from reading questions buyers and sellers were asking and they were seeking direction from others online. I will not address these situations for the same reason the online advice-givers should proceed with caution when giving buyers and sellers recommendations about complicated areas of real estate: lack of context.

Most of the areas listed below will require more questions to be asked, additional research, and will depend on how contracts were filled out in order to give the parties correct guidance. Assuming that there’s a one-size-fits-all answer that can be found online will get you into trouble.

The intention of this article is to help you understand why you need to surround yourself with someone who knows how to handle these problems, should they arise.

Here’s a short example of issues buyers and sellers were having:

A lien the seller didn’t know about is making it difficult to sell the home and the buyer wants to cancel the contract.
A buyer under contract didn’t tell the seller that they need to lease their home in order to purchase the new one.
The seller accepted the buyer’s offer and now the buyer has found a home he likes better.
The homebuyer wants to move in before closing and rent the home until the closing date.
An inspection revealed costly repairs are needed and the buyer wants to renegotiate the purchase price.
A buyer has a contract to buy a home and learned the seller has another contract with a second buyer.
The buyer and seller disagree about what items should stay with the property after the sale.
The owner of a home won’t issue a seller’s disclosure statement.
How should a seller handle multiple offers?
The seller didn’t show up to closing and the buyer doesn’t know what to do.

This list could keep going and going. There are countless situations that could come up during a real estate transaction that require professional advice. I understand why people use the internet to educate themselves and try to problem solve as much as possible, but we shouldn’t count on Q&A forums from others who may or may not be qualified and who doesn’t possess the proper context. The internet is an incredible tool that helps us all. Just don’t think that it replaces the expert you should hire to work with you.