Every transaction in Real Estate is different. That is part of why I like being in the business so much. I am always learning and always handling new situations.
Recently, I have run into several fairly significant delays in loans being approved. In both of the most recent instances, it was a delay in verifying that the purchaser had paid their taxes. I am not piling on the IRS here--as a tax payer, I want someone to be current on their taxes before they take on the responsibility of home ownership. That said, the verification is not instant, and it seems that verifications are taking longer as a result of sequestration (so I have been told). It reminded me that one of the most important things you can do when buying or selling a home is to have a contingency plan.
In the first instance, the sellers had already moved out and the buyers were leaving a rental and buying their first home. The delay meant that they did not have as much overlap in their rental and purchase. While that might be inconvenient, it did not mean they were without a home. As long as we settled by the end of the month, they continued to have somewhere to live.
The second delay was the buyer for one of my buyer's sales (confusing, I know). This delay DID mean that the sale did not go through on schedule and, as a result, the my buyer's financing could not be approved in time for their settlement date. Luckily, they had family near by who could help them bridge the gap by providing a place to stay. The sellers were already in their new home. While it did not affect their living arrangements, or the purchase of their new home, it was an extra week of paying expenses on a house they had hoped would be sold. Two mortgages, two insurance bills, two sets of utilitiy bills and two sets of property taxes. All because of delays from a buyer several transactions removed.
No matter how well you try to control for the unexpected, there are always possible delays in real estate transactions. Make sure when you go to buy or sell a house, that you have a back up plan if the purchase or sale is delayed. Hopefully, you will never need to put your back up plan in place---but if you do, you will be glad you planned ahead!
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