There are many steps to get to closing, and if you didn't know that and you've closed on a home it's either because things went smoothly and/or your realtor was on top of things.

The important thing to remember is that delays can happen. Sometimes things are innocent but still cause a delay. For example, if the buyer happens to be named John Smith I can almost guarantee you there are going to be judgments and liens that have to be addressed to verify that they are not against/attached to this "John Smith" buying the home. You can't blame someone for having a common name.

HOAs, lack of communication, being disorganized and laziness can cause delays... there are all kinds of things. This is a prime reason why working with a good Realtor can benefit you... if we get an offer from someone using a Realtor who we know does a good job you can bet we relay that to the seller.

Personally we've accepted lower offers on homes we've sold because the Realtor for the buyer was more competent than the others who brought higher offers. There is a value to knowing something has a higher probability of closing with few to no problems.

I would say that more than 90% of delays that we've seen could have been avoided. The worst delay we've hit was caused by the seller's realtor not wanting to spend $5 when she listed the home for sale. That's no joke, and the seller almost lost the sale because of it. It put a lot of people through hell but she saved $5. At the closing table the seller thanked us for what we did to keep things together. He also let us know he wished we were working for him and not just for the buyers. He didn't say it in front of his realtor; she was late to closing.