Buying a house, selling a house... all in the same, tomorrow or maybe next week….

I have had four closings in the past two weeks that did not happen as scheduled. Two of them were delayed because the buyers’ loans are still in underwriting (this is the process the mortgage company goes through to determine if the borrower is a healthy risk for them), and the other two were delayed because the buyers have to sell their current house before they can buy the new one.

The Domino Effect

So what is the common thread with these closings? The sellers on the two that are still in underwriting are the buyers of the other two. Everyone has moving vans lined up, they have contacted the utility companies to have power, cable and water switched into or out of their names, and they have nowhere to stay tonight because they thought they would be staying in their new home. No one is closing and everyone is frustrated.

Patience and the Waiting Game

What can you do to prevent these delays? Well at this point, there is not a lot we can do but wait for the underwriting review process to be completed. However, if you don’t have your closing date scheduled yet and you are selling one house and buying another, I would recommend allowing at least a day or two in between the closing to sell your current home and the purchase of the new one. Yes, they can happen the same day, but why risk the stress, headache and heartache when it does not happen. I would also schedule the moving van to move your belongings into your new home for a day or two after the anticipated closing date. If your closings occur on time and you don’t have furniture in the new home, create new memories with the kids “camping in” the new home with the whole family sleeping on blankets in the living room and ordering pizza. Or schedule a night at a hotel where you can get a goodnights sleep, kids could play in the pool and you do not have to make the beds in the morning. Make it a fun memory!

I Have To Move In Now

If these choices are not right for you, then consider a short-term occupancy agreement with the buyer of your current home. In North Carolina, real estate agents can fill in blanks on standard “Seller Possession After Closing Agreement” for you. This agreement allows you to rent back the property from the buyer for up to 14 days. The same option is available to you on the home you are purchasing if that seller agrees because real estate agents also have access to a standard “Buyer Possession Before Closing Agreement.” Sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent delays but the best prevention is communication. Communicate early with your real estate agent, lender and directly with your closing attorney’s office. Make sure they all have everything they will need to assist in your closing occurring without delays. Whether buying or selling it is important to get requested documentation back to all parties as promptly as possible.

Published by Susan R. Benoit on October 19, 2015