Can We Close On The Home Earlier or Later Than The Contract Date?
There are two key dates in a home purchase contract that buyers and sellers care about most: Closing date and Occupancy date.
The first is the date the paperwork is signed off and home ownership is transferred. In Ohio, that typically means buyers and sellers meet at a closing table, the title company's rep is there to direct the sign offs of all the paperwork and the agents are there to provide support to their clients.
Occupancy date is the date that possession is given to the buyers. Most often, the closing and occupancy are the same date. Buyers get the keys to the home right at the closing table. However, there are times the contract allows for the sellers to stay in the home a bit longer, maybe a few days, maybe a week, and sometimes even longer (although longer most often will result in a rent back situation).
Now also in the Cincinnati/Dayton MLS purchase contract on line 279 right after the specified closing date is the phrase "or earlier as mutually agreed by the parties". Notice it says EARLIER, not later. Assuming sellers are willing to move out early (or have already left), the buyer's financing is approved and the title company can complete their tasks on time, it's relatively simple to move up the closing. It's typically a win-win situation for everyone involved. Arrangements are made, utility transfers set up, closing time set and it's a done deal.
On the other hand, there's nothing standard in the contract for LATER. LATER usually means something bad has happened: buyer financing is delayed, inspection repairs are taking longer than expected, or even worse, the buyer is ready to go but the seller has BADLY underestimated how long it will take them to get out or where they're going next.
To move the date later, again, BOTH parties have to agree. That purchase contract is a legally binding contract, and the agreed upon dates are a critical part of that contract. Failing to meet the contract terms provides a window for the contract to be voided. If the buyer can't get financing as agreed, the seller has every right to say "sorry, but we're putting the home back on the market". Or if they have a back up offer in place, they may go to Plan Back Up.
However, assuming both parties are open to an extension of closing dates, an addendum is filled out, signed by both parties and the contract is now approved for the new date. Financing gets adjusted, the title company works to the new date and the dominoes start to fall again and the new date is met. Not ideal, but still a win-win when it's all done at the closing table.
NOTE: We're NOT real estate attorneys, so if the situation gets outside the normal realm of the approved contract and process, our advice is to consult a real estate attorney.
Other questions about buying or selling a Cincinnati area home? Just ask! You can reach us at Liz@LizSpear.com or call 513-520-5305.
Serving Warren County's residential real estate needs,
Liz and Bill aka BLiz