How to avoid 4 common closing delays
Closing day should be a day for celebration, but for some, it’s a nightmare. What can you do to make sure your closing runs smoothly?
Fortunately, most closings occur on schedule. According to a January 2022 survey by the National Association of Realtors, over a three-month period, respondents reported 70% of closings occurred on time, 23% were delayed and 7% were terminated.
Most delays were due to problems with money, appraisals, home inspections and clouds on titles. Below are details of these common closing roadblocks and how you can avoid them.
1. Financing issues
Problem: Mortgage approval can be delayed and possibly denied if your lender finds out that your debt-to-income ratio makes you ineligible for a loan.
Solution: Get preapproved for a loan so that you know exactly what you can afford, and refrain from the following…
Don’t increase your spending habits between the time you apply for a loan until your closing date.
Don’t buy a new car or take on a new loan or new credit cards.
Don’t change your job.
Your lender needs reassurance that you have steady income to pay your new mortgage.
2. Appraisal surprise
Problem: The home appraisal is lower than the purchase price of home.
Solution: You have a few options here.
The seller could accept less than the asking price.
The buyer could cover the cost of the difference.
The buyer and seller could compromise with the buyer paying a little more and the seller accepting a little less.
You could challenge the appraisal by showing comparable home pricing.
You could take a chance and request a new appraiser and hope the outcome is in your favor this time.
3. Home inspection woes
Problem: If a home inspector finds problems with, for example, a home’s foundation, plumbing or electrical systems, these repairs can take time and can be costly.
Can you cancel the sale if it’s just too much to fix? Also, how do you handle a seller who doesn’t complete repairs on time or refuses?
Solution: It’s important to have a purchase agreement so the buyer and seller are aware of the responsibilities of all involved in the transaction.
For home inspection issues, home inspection contingencies could be included in the purchase agreement. The agreement could stipulate that the seller agrees to make all repairs, or the purchase price will be lowered if the repairs are not completed on time and the buyer takes over renovations. The purchase agreement could also state that if the seller violates the contract or the repairs are just too extreme, the buyer could back out of the sale of the home.
Bonus tip: Home inspections generally do not include pest inspection. It’s a good idea to request this inspection as well. If you have a hidden pest infestation, it’s best to know about and correct it now before you move into your new home.
4. Clouds on a title.
Problem: A title search will uncover defects, or clouds, on a title such as liens or discrepancies. These defects must be corrected before closing, but how?
Solution: It is up to the seller to resolve these issues. The seller should be motivated to fix title problems quickly because, after all, the seller wants to sell.
Even the best title search can overlook title issues if they are hidden well enough. If clouds on a title from the previous homeowner are discovered soon after or even years after you have purchased a home, this can be a costly issue for you to resolve without title insurance.
Protect your home and your wallet and pay the one-time fee for title insurance so that you are not responsible for a previous owner’s potentially expensive title issues.
Submit all information and fees on time. Make sure you know what is expected of you from your real estate agent, lender and your title professional, and keep in contact with them so that your closing is a success.