Time Is of the Essence

Mortgage and Lending with Guaranteed Rate, Marin County, CA NMLS: 22343

Time Is of the Essence


There it is in black and white.  Section 29 of the California Association of Realtors' residential purchase agreement.  "Time is of the essence."  And in real estate transactions, which are inherently complex, this simply means that every day matters.  To be competitive as a buyer you need time on your side because very likely the seller of the home in which you're interested knows that the longer things take to get to the closing table, the greater likelihood something might go wrong with the financing you need in order to acquire the home.


"Like what?," you ask.


Perhaps the borrower/buyer will file his tax return and it will change the qualifying income.  Or gosh, maybe the buyers will inadvertently miss a credit card payment, or their autopay will malfunction and they'll learn that they're late on a revolving debt.  Or as we've recently seen, the darn government could shut down.  You get the picture.  Things happen.  And more things can happen if you give them more time.


[Too lazy to read the rest?  Watch the video instead.]



What can a buyer do about this short of a mad and stressful rush in their loan process?  There are two key actions that prove to be universally helpful across all buyers, all pricepoints and all markets:


1)  Get your loan underwritten in advance.  Every serious real estate agent will require that you have a valid pre-approval before you begin looking at homes.  But what if you could not only get a pre-approval but also have the certainty that your loan application has been through a complete underwrite?  That way, all you'd need to complete and provide to your lender once having your offer accepted is a fully-ratified purchase contract and a satisfactory appraisal.  Wouldn't it be great, in advance and free of time constraints of the contract, to not only gain the confidence of a rock-solid approval but also eliminate the time it typically takes to underwrite a file once your offer is accepted?  In fact, we do this all the time.  An "advance underwrite," a "pre-underwrite" or a "TBD underwrite" is an extension of our pre-approval process for those who have the time and inclination.  Once we have the underwrite complete, it is sometimes possible for the buyer to offer with an exceptionally fast close of escrow (again, without requiring a rush) and even offer without a financing contingency.


2)  Get organized!  All borrowers owe it to themselves to take the homebuying process seriously.  After all, there is a lot at stake.  Simply, get your financial house in order before searching for a house to buy.  Get all of your income, asset and credit documentation in one place.  We'll typically require two years of tax returns and W-2 forms, 30 days' worth of paystubs and often a year-end paystub for the last two years.  For bank statements, we'll want two months --- all pages even if blank.  Other items we request?  Driver's license and/or valid US identification.  Also, letters of explanation for any unique characteristics of your application.  Remember, I may know your story because we'll talk about it together, but an underwriter will not have the benefit of those conversations.  The more you're able to concisely convey any specifics of your credit profile, the better you'll help your cause.


Every year, some homebuyers will fall out of contract both because they cannot take the pressure or they cannot meet the deadlines that were spelled out when they got their offers accepted.  Time is of the essence.  And there are two really good ways, above, that help you adhere to, and succeed in, that reality.


Time stand still, 



Robert J. Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending

Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343 
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 

Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960

Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate's Human Resources Department.


Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood ChicagoIL 60613 - (866) 934-7283


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Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Good morning, Rob - being prepared and truly wanting it is a priority. 

Feb 07, 2019 08:01 AM #1
Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI
HomeSmart Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell

Great points Rob Spinosa. Time is of the essence, for us a real estate agents too. Do not hesitate in getting offers and counters submitted. Jeff

Feb 07, 2019 08:09 AM #2
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

That collection of clocks reminds me of my grandmother's house when I was a kid.  She didn't have as many as those pictured, but she had several that looked identical.

Feb 07, 2019 04:26 PM #3
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Another post just full of great information borrowers will find very helpful

Feb 07, 2019 06:36 PM #4
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

I am always amazed after closing that some of the settlement agents don't record until the next day. As you said, time is of the essence. What if a judgment gets docketed before you can get the paperwork recorded? Time is of the essence. We used to record immediately after the transaction as long as the Clerk's Office was open. If it wasn't, we'd be at the Clerk's Office when it opened to record.

Feb 08, 2019 07:13 AM #5
Doug Kaller
Academy Mortgage, Reno, NV - Reno, NV

Great article Rob, and I love the picture of the clocks. Prior to the close, the title company will run a new title search on both the property and the borrower. One of my clients showed up to sign only to find 3 additional liens were filed against the property. The title company could not issue a title policy and the closing was delayed until the seller was able to settle the additional liens. 

Feb 08, 2019 11:00 AM #6
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Excellent advice, Rob Spinosa ... and very true.  I'm constantly amazed at the approach of many borrowers, sellers, and professionals in this regard.  Simply gives "Murphy's Law" time to kick in and that's dangerous ...


Feb 08, 2019 12:20 PM #7
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent post!  I'm going through that right now with a buyer.  We're in underwriting geting approval because I don't want this to fall apart thanks to a late payment on one of their credit cards.  Making sure everyone understands that time is of the essence is critical in real estate!  

Feb 08, 2019 04:58 PM #8
Gloria Todor
Century 21 Absolute Realty - Springfield, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Rob, Is that a Van Halen riff?  Not sure.  But liked your intro to your video and you offer great advice.

All the best.

Feb 09, 2019 01:00 PM #9
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Buyers and Sellers...Lenders and Agents are wise to keep an eye on the deadlines for which they are responsible.

Feb 12, 2019 05:52 AM #10
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Rob Spinosa

Vice President of Mortgage Lending, Marin County
Can I Get a Jumbo Loan with 10% Down?
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