A home sale isn't exactly the easiest process for people to go through, but planning and preparing well in advance are critical for everything to go off without a hitch. A transaction could fall apart at any moment, from early on to right before closing. Therefore, a property inspection and other key steps are vitally important before listing.

Unfortunately, some sellers aren't as adept at the process as others. While this may not be ideal, a novice shouldn't let a lack of information or some poor judgment calls derail a home sale. There are many reasons why it doesn't go smoothly, and each one requires some level of attention.

Avoid cutting corners before listing

While problems with a home sale could come from anywhere, one of the biggest reasons everything gets held up is because sellers cut corners and try to save a few bucks here or there.

For instance, a home inspection is crucial if everything is to go as planned, according to Bill Gassett, a Massachusetts-based real estate agent with Re/Max Executive Realty and contributor to ActiveRain. Some of the most typical problems with a sale are related to this step. Disrepair, code violations, hazards and pests all can turn potential buyers away, but regardless a number of sellers don't take the time to check everything before listing.

Moreover, Gassett noted that many sellers don't get the proper permits before building an addition on their houses. This may save money in the short term, but when it comes time to sell that could be a major sticking point. The construction could be put under a microscope, and not everyone wants to buy a home with no questions asked.

A home inspection can make all the difference

Part of a seller's due diligence before moving forward with a real estate transaction is a home inspection. This step is critical because it can put both the current owners' and the potential buyers' minds at ease. Few people want to end up with house that is falling apart, and a stellar report can go a long way to completing the process.

Therefore, a failed property inspection can unravel it all, according to Realtor.com. Buyers aren't experts in home safety and other components, but a licensed inspection professional is. Plumbing and electrical problems could appear in any house, as could roof issues or drainage concerns. Pending home sales can be halted with a failed inspection, so all sellers should have this step completed early on. 

Additionally, the sellers could then have options about how to proceed. They can fix the problems quickly, before listing the home, or they can offer potential buyers a discount on the costs of the sale so they can repair everything when they move in. Full disclosure and a wealth of information put the power back in the seller's hands. If the buyer completes a home inspection and finds issues, that can shift the dynamic rapidly.

Get prepared for the appraisal

A house sale is not something that happens overnight. Instead, the process is fairly long and has multiple steps. One of those is the home appraisal, and if the sellers don't get their properties in order beforehand that figure could ruin the entire thing.

Low appraisals are typically conservative in their estimates, according to The Wall Street Journal. Owners may want to make improvements and fix neglected repair items in advance, and price their homes similar to comparable properties in the neighborhood.

While smaller issues - like dirty clothes or ragged furniture - won't sink an appraisal, bigger problems that could be spotted during a home inspection will. Therefore, all sellers should take their time before listing and make sure that everything looks great and is in order so the entire process goes smoothly.