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Real Estate Transaction Curve Balls: Issue #1 - Delayed Closings.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

Curve ballsReal estate transactions can be harrowing ordeals for the uninformed, uninitiated and unprepared.  However, arming yourself with good information and an understanding of the process can go a long way towards diffusing potential disasters before they occur.  And, if you do find yourself in the situation, knowing the RIGHT thing to do can increase the chance that you will emerge with your dream home purchase intact. 

1.  The Process may take longer than expected…

Yes, your contract may clearly state that you will be Closing your transaction on a particular date, but hidden in the fine print is an oft overlooked phrase which highlights reasons why a Closing can be delayed for upwards of weeks pending resolution.  In West Michigan, delays related to attempts to cure defects in title or survey issues or lender mandated repairs are a part of this list.  Details that many are prone to miss when engulfed with the thrall of an accepted purchase agreement. 

A quick review of the above list shows that at least three different corporate entities can be the source of any of these delays.  If you scream, threaten or panic, you will simply add more fuel to the fire.  The good news is that these issues are often correctable with time and most Closings are able to eventually close without incident.

A Better Approach:

Don’t order your moving truck until you receive the ‘Clear to Close’ from your Lender and the Title Company.  Why add stress to your life?   It is unlikely that everyone in West Michigan will be moving on any given day.  You will be able to locate a truck.  And then there are always friends and family who can usually be counted on in a crunch.

Be flexible.  Relax.  Let the professionals go through their paces.  After all you are paying them to do their jobs.  Remember, they don’t get paid UNLESS you close the transaction successfully.

Keep in touch.  Not in an intrusive way, but simply let folks know that you appreciate what they are doing to help you and be willing to cooperate to the extent which this is possible.

Have a contingency plan with regards to your current living situation.  If you are renting, you may be able work with your landlord to do a ‘Month to Month’ lease.  Appreciate the fact that schedule changes are likely to impact a lot of people and anything you can do to limit pressure on yourself is useful.

Click to read about more Real Estate Transaction Curve Balls

Comments (15)

John Fauth
Coldwell Banker King Thompson - Grove City, OH
Turning your dreams into an address!

This is overlooked Lola. Good topic and one that does not really get discussed until the moment happens. Better to let them know up front than when they are staring down the barell at it. The closing is the one thing buyers are focused on. When you tell them there is a delay they get upset and that goes against the agent in their mind no matter what the reason.

Sep 22, 2012 03:00 AM
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

John, very true.  Yet, everyone who has been involved in real estate for any length of time and particularly in this current climate knows that delays happen frequently.  They do not spell 'the end of the world' necessarily, but they can be very disconcerting if you don't have the ability to make appropriate adjustments.  

Sep 22, 2012 04:05 AM
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

If you scream, threaten or panic....lol.  Isn't it the truth though?  Why rant when most can be corrected. Obviously, we have to use our better judgment and keep that fire at bay!  It's been humid over here...just so you know...it's not always trade winds in the Pacific lol.  HUG HUG!

Sep 22, 2012 06:34 AM
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Good planning, flexibility in those plans, and having a positive attitude (attract more flies with honey) is a sure way to reduce the stress when buying and selling. 

Sep 22, 2012 06:51 AM
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Sally, there's this very human tendency to get really agitated at this point.  The Closing process is already extended and most people are just ready to be done.  You & I both know that delays usually don't mean the deal won't close...they simply mean the Closing won't happen that day. Thanks for stopping by to read. Good to see your smiling face. :)

Sep 22, 2012 06:57 AM
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Amen Melissa! True in life...and in real estate.

Sep 22, 2012 06:58 AM
Digital Digital
Alachua, FL
full service

Hi Lola,

Thanks for sharing this very informative post on the different possible closing issues.

It's always important for clients to know and understand the challenges that could occur, in order to make the necessary preparations.

All the best for the rest of 2012!


Sep 22, 2012 07:43 AM
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Thank you for your comment Wandanna.  

Sep 22, 2012 07:47 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I try to work with title companies that will do the title work early on.  I do have "the talk" with my clients to be sure to have a contingency plan and I discuss with them that many closings are not closing on time... Being perpared for a delay is the key.

Sep 22, 2012 07:54 AM
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Joan...absolutely!  When we're prepared for anything, it takes away some of the shock of surprise and allows us to plan more effectively.

Sep 22, 2012 09:06 AM
Chuck Mixon
The Keyes Company - Cutler Bay, FL
Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR

Always like to make the closing move soother, but someone always drops that wrench in just the right spots to bring it to a complete halt. I like to think your suggestion will make things less stressful.

Sep 22, 2012 09:07 AM
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Chuck you're right...as real estate agents we're well aware of how many things can come up in a transaction.  We're trained to deal with these issues and know that usually they can be handled.  This is because we do these types of transactions frequently.  Our clients have this experience once every 5-7 years on the average.  Helping them to anticipate issues like this and preparing them in advance is real service.

Sep 22, 2012 09:16 AM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Lola - There are many real estate curve balls to be had in any transaction, and remaining calm makes a big difference.

Sep 22, 2012 12:46 PM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


Sometimes something happens to delay the close for a day or a few days.  It is so difficult to close on the date in the contract now a days that it can be a stressful situation.

Sep 22, 2012 01:38 PM
Rose King
David Tracy Real Estate - Friendswood, TX
Friendswood / Pearland / Houston Bay Area

You are so right, Lola. I have found that the seller is the person who gets most upset when closing is delayed. They start to get fearful that the loan will be declined and they will lose their buyer. Delays happen, and a good agent will prepare all parties for the possibility of a delayed closing date.

Sep 22, 2012 02:20 PM