How to avoid delays in a real estate transaction

Delays in a home closing can often involve a financial penalty or additional negotiations, causing tempers to flare. Here are four items that should go at the top of your home closing checklist.

1. Ask your agent to watch for potential problems

When a property is under contract, the buyer’s agent should check in with all parties at least twice weekly, if not more. Because a good agent has completed so many transactions, they know to be on the lookout for any transactional surprises or changes. Both the buyer’s and seller’s agents should identify potential problems before they happen and take quick action to solve them.

2, Keep lenders updated regularly

Banks today require so much paperwork. And sometimes they ask for the same information over and over. If your mortgage professional asks for follow-up documentation, get it to them right away. If one document, or even one signature, is missing, it can delay the closing. The worst-case scenario is when you have a rate locked and a delay occurs. You could lose your rate and be forced to re-lock at a higher rate, not to mention delay the seller—and potentially their purchase.

3. Beware of last-minute seller surprises

Sellers can sometimes cause bumps in the road by not being able to move out in time. Or they fail to make agreed-on fixes. If the seller agrees to make repairs prior to closing, put a deadline on the repairs. No matter how big or small the fix, you don’t want to show up at the walk-through to see the seller doing the work. Ask for the work to be completed a week before the closing and put it in writing.

4. Keep your finances stable

Buyers obtaining financing should not make any major changes before closing. The smallest change can affect your ability to close. For instance, if you purchase a car or apply for a new credit card between the time you sign a contract and close, that debt will affect your loan. If you change jobs, you could lose the loan or delay your purchase.

Nine times out of ten, delays can be avoided by planning. Staying on top of all parties and aspects of the transaction should assure an on-time closing.

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