Real Estate: Truths about the CLOSING DATE

for-sale-homeIf you’ve bought or sold a house, you likely paid close attention to two terms in your contract: the Purchase Price and the Closing Date. With respect to the Closing Date, real estate contracts typically state that the transaction will occur “on or before” a date certain; however, it is extremely rare that the closing takes place on or before the date listed in the contract. Many people assume that the terms in a legal document such as a purchase & sale contract for a home are set in stone. The Closing date is not one of them. This is because there are many factors and parties involved, beyond just the buyer and seller, especially when the buyer is obtaining a mortgage. First, the buyer usually performs several inspections. During this time, the buyer should also be pursuing obtaining financing to purchase the home. Since the crash of the mortgage market in 2008, obtaining a mortgage requires a tremendous amount of documentation and verification of income and assets. Often the buyer’s mortgage is contingent on the buyers selling their own home, so the closing date also hinges on the progress of the buyer’s buyer. It creates a domino effect that can usually take more than 30 days, which is the typical amount of time allotted in a real estate contract for this task. Many sellers (and buyers, for that matter) become frustrated with the process because they rely on the Closing Date listed in the contract. To ease the stress of an already stressful situation, we advise clients to try to be flexible with the closing date, within reason, of course. It’s best not to schedule movers, tell a landlord you’re moving out or arrange for your children to switch schools until the closing is actually scheduled with your attorney’s office.

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