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4 tips to guarantee you close on time

4 tips to guarantee you close on time

By Dawn Whalen

Whalen Realty Group at F.C. Tucker Company

Scheduling the closing date on a home is an exciting moment. It gives buyers and sellers a date to anticipate the transfer of ownership, and it’s an important meeting for all parties involved (realtors, families, lenders and the title company). However, before reaching the finish line at the title office, there are several tasks that must be completed first, and any delay can push back the closing date.

Deposit the earnest money immediately

Buyers willing to pay an earnest money deposit are proving to the sellers that they’re serious about the property and want to make a deal work. On average, an earnest payment is 1 to 3 percent of the home’s purchase price.

Earnest payments are generally due within a day or two of an agreed upon offer. Failure to make the deposit in a timely manner can result in the seller cancelling the contract or delaying the estimated closing date.

Have financing in place

Having a pre-approval letter before submitting an offer is important. It takes time for a financial institution to arrange funding and determine the dollar amount loaned to a borrower. Once the pre-approval process is complete and an offer is accepted, the buyer simply needs to complete a mortgage application and the remainder of the financial process is straightforward. Failure to have financing in place before submitting an offer can delay closing.

Time is the biggest challenge when it comes to arranging financing because there are multiple documents and organizations involved to review credit reports, bank statements, pay stubs and more. Depending on the time of year or the current real estate market, applying for financing can take as little as a week or as long as a month.

Inspections and response time

It is the buyer’s responsibility to arrange any inspections on the home prior to closing. This usually takes place seven to 14 days after contract acceptance. During that time, the home inspection must be completed, and the buyer needs to respond, in writing, any requested repairs. Failure to acknowledge any defects identified in the report within the amount of time disclosed in the purchase agreement automatically means the buyer accepts the property in its current condition. For example, if an inspector makes note that plumbing under the bathroom sink is faulty, and the buyer fails to ask the seller to fix the problem, then the buyer will be stuck with the plumbing defect. Any updates or repairs can push back the closing date, but it’s also important to have a home that’s in good working condition. No one wants to move into a home with faulty plumbing.

Don’t miss deadlines

Deadlines are just as important in real estate as the financing. Missing deadlines can push back the entire process and make it more difficult for any party involved in the process to get their work completed. There are so many moving parts when it comes to completing a real estate transaction that not responding to questions or requests for more information can delay closing. Experienced realtors are used to working with deadlines and will encourage their clients to respond in a timely manner, but ultimately, it’s up to the buyer or seller to take action.

Currently closings are mostly taking place on time but following these tips will help keep the process on track and limit any potential problems.

Dawn Whalen is owner of Whalen Realty Group, at the F.C. Tucker Company, and has worked in residential real estate for more than 17 years. She’s a licensed realtor, broker, is a member of MIBOR and a Homes for Heroes preferred realtor. She can be reached at Dawn@whalenrealtygroup.com.

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