Seems like my clients fall into two categories: The ones who check with me on every detail, and the ones who don’t. Neither category is better than the other… until we have a day like today.
I can’t blame anyone for what happened but me. My client was a first-time home buyer who was doing her best to go with the flow. She had followed all the advice I gave her from the day we met all the way up to closing, which was today.
Last week I went over with her what to expect this week. I told her there would be a walk-thru with the builder, that there would be a re-walk with the builder, that she needed to contact her utility companies to establish services, and that I would be calling her to set a time to go over the settlement statement as soon as I received it from the attorney.
Several times this week I contacted the builder’s agent and the attorney to let them know I wanted to see the settlement statement and asked when they thought it would be available.
This morning I was still trying to chase it down.
I’ve never worked with this builder or this attorney before – and I don’t work this way. I make sure my buyers know how much money (if any) they’re bringing to closing and I make sure they know exactly what they’re signing before they ever sit at the closing table. Showing up blind at the closing table is a no-no.
At the re-walk an hour before closing I let my buyer know we were still in the dark on the settlement statement, and she said she’d been getting calls for the last day or so from people telling her she needed this much, no that much, no this much money for closing.
I was already upset I hadn’t seen the settlement statement one hour from closing. Now I find out everyone has seen it but me.
On the way from the walk-thru to the closing attorney’s office I called the closing attorney – again – to see why I still didn’t have a copy of the settlement statement. She said there had been changes to it since my phone call one hour earlier.
No wonder people think buying a house is stressful: NOBODY SEEMS TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON!!!
When we got to the attorney’s office I got a copy of the settlement statement and sat down with my buyer to go over it with her privately. Sure enough, there were still mistakes that had to be corrected. Closing was delayed 30 minutes. The buyer’s stress level soared higher. This is not professional.
When everything had been signed and it was time for the buyer to hand over her check, the attorney refused to take it because it was a money order. Real Estate 101 says money orders are not accepted at the closing table.
Who had been calling my buyer for the past day and messing her up? How am I supposed to keep her straight when I don’t know someone else is giving her bad information?
From now on, my buyers will know right up front to HANG UP when someone other than me calls and tries to advise them on closing… and delete the e-mails! Today would have been a pleasant, enjoyable experience had I been allowed to do my job. Instead, my buyer spent three hours waiting around the attorney’s office, then the rest of the afternoon trying to get her money back from the money order she’d been told she could use at the closing table.
She never even went to her new house.
Don’t let your closing experience get sabotaged by people who don’t have the answers – even if it’s the attorney calling, your lender, or the builder – regardless of what they’ve said, call your REALTOR® to confirm. Everyone else means well, but she’s the only one who’s been with you from the beginning, who knows what you’re thinking, who knows where you are with things, who knows what you need to know, and who knows what you don’t need to know. She’s going to troubleshoot for you, find the mistakes, and FIX THEM so you have nothing to worry about but packing boxes.