Saving The Deal – A Client Story

  • Jessica Richardson
  • 01/7/19
One of my most memorable sales was a beautifully restored historic property in Old Town. I was representing the sellers. The husband was a retired Navy officer and the buyers were active duty Army officers.
The buyers were using VA financing – something we see frequently in this area. Everything was going along smoothly until 2 days before closing when I got a call form the buyer’s agent who was in a panic.
She told me that the appraiser noted something about the house that was going to prevent the loan from being approved. This is something that happens very rarely and it is a serious problem.
Apparently, when the appraiser came to the house, he noted that there was a crawl space under part of the house but it didn’t meet the VA’s definition of a crawl space being 3 feet high. The VA didn’t consider historic homes when they wrote their guidelines. The appraiser refused to bend on this issue.
The house was in excellent shape and there were no inspection issues. The buyers had their furniture on a truck and the sellers had already moved out.
The buyer’s agent threw her hands up and told me the deal was over. Both buyers and sellers were beside themselves. We were hanging by a thread……
I knew there had to be another way. First, I reached out to a contact in the zoning office at city hall. I explained the scenario and he looked at the property and wrote up a report to support our case. I showed the report to the appraiser and pleaded with him but he still wouldn’t bend.
I then remembered a contact I’d made at the VA when I was helping another Military buyer. I reached out to her and was able to make a case for an exception which she accelerated up the chain to someone with power. The supervisor granted an exception for the property and the loan was approved. We went to closing the next day.
It was one of the happiest moments of my career. When you’re buying or selling a home, there are number of things that can go wrong. It’s important to have a realtor who has the tools and experience to help you avoid the pitfalls.


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