According to the REALTORS® Confidence Index, 73% of closings occurred on time in October 2017, but 25% of Realtors® reported a delay in closings. Having a closing date pushed back is not an uncommon thing, and most of the time it’s not a huge deal as long as any issues are taken care of in a timely manner. Since no one wants their closing delayed, let’s look at some of the most common reasons for a delayed closing and how to prevent them.
Problems Obtaining Financing
There are any number of reasons a buyer might have issues obtaining financing on time. From time to time, last-minute issues will crop up with the buyer’s ability to secure a home loan. Even if the buyer has been pre-approved or even cleared to close, their credit and bank statements may be reviewed one final time a few days before closing. The buyer might have had large sums deposited to or subtracted from their bank account. Their credit rating might have changed. They might have lost their job or changed jobs. The lender might decide that they need additional paperwork. Most of these issues can be cleared up with the proper documentation before the lender gives the all clear.
In order to issue a mortgage loan for a home, the bank must perform an appraisal to protect their investment. Issues with the appraisal are an extremely common reason for a closing to be delayed. The hope is that the appraiser will value the home at or above the sale price. If this happens, everything should be fine and dandy. Sometimes, however, the appraisal comes back at a lower number than the price stated in the contract. Lenders cannot approve a loan for an amount that is greater than the home’s appraised value. If this happens, the seller and buyer must do some renegotiating and come to an agreement on a new sale price.
Home Inspection Issues
When red flags arise on home inspections, the buyer and seller must revisit negotiations and decide what needs to be fixed before closing. Closings can be delayed when the seller neglects to complete agreed-upon repairs on time. A good real estate agent will keep on top of the seller’s agent to make sure that repairs are completed in plenty of time, but sometimes it’s out of their hands. All parties need to do their due diligence to make sure this preventable delay is taken care of.
Some title-related problems are actually very common and can be resolved fairly easily. Other issues are more serious take longer to correct and can cause a delay in closing. Title-related problems include errors in public records; unknown liens; illegal deeds; missing heirs; forgeries; undiscovered encumbrances; unknown easements; boundary/survey disputes; undiscovered will; false impersonation of previous owner. The good news is that if any of these issues arise after closing, your title insurance policy will protect you as the owner.
Every contract has its contingencies. Some might be as simple as the buyer’s ability to obtain financing or the satisfaction of a home inspection and repairs. Others might include the request that the seller purchase a home warranty for the buyer. Another common one would be specific performance like replacing carpets. These contingencies must be completed prior to closing unless otherwise specified. Failure to do so could cause a delay.
No one wants to face a delay on their closing date. Sellers want to get out and get paid. Buyers want to move in and enjoy their new homes. Of course there are some issues that are beyond anyone’s control, but as long as all parties stay diligent and take care of everything that is expected of them, your closing will more than likely happen on time.