The dream property is in escrow, the home inspection contingency has been removed and it looks like it's smooth sailing to close the transaction. What could go wrong? Is there anything that can delay closing and moving dates?
It was late May 2017 and I was working on the listing side of a transaction that was set to close in three days. It seemed like everything was going smoothly and on time. Then a freak spring storm graced Bend with howling winds and a torrential downpour of rain. Thirty minutes after the storm hit, I got the call—the call no real estate broker, or anyone else, for that matter, wants to receive from the Bend Police Department. An officer told me a tree had fallen onto the roof on what appeared to be a property I had for sale.
My stomach took an immediate free-fall dive to my toes. As I drove up the street to the house, there it was; a 100-foot Colorado blue spruce with a 9-foot-wide root ball freed from the ground, the tree lying on the house. The tree had punctured the roof and eaves on the southeastern corner of the roof. Its precarious position was all that stood between it and the neighboring home.
I tell this story as a precautionary tale to be prepared that not all escrows will close on time. This is an extreme and colorful example. That said, it was a situation that was out of anyone's control and resulted in the delay of close. Thankfully, the sellers and I were able to work swiftly to remedy the situation and the buyer hung in there to close a week and a half later.
There are several things that can delay a closing. More often than not, they're out of the buyer's and seller's control.
Appraisal-related delays are one of the most common reasons a closing date gets delayed. If an appraisal comes back late, or outlines conditions that must be met in order for the property to meet lender requirements before a loan application can go to final underwriting, it can cause delays.
Also causing delays are vendors not completing repairs within the time frame necessary to close. Sometimes there are repairs negotiated between buyer and seller to be completed before close of escrow, including plumbing, roofing or electrical repairs. As many of us have experienced in recent years, vendors are booked out and oftentimes cannot meet the time constraints of a pending sale. As a result, the escrow closing may be delayed in order to get the necessary repairs completed.
A lender's underwriter may also require additional documentation or verifications of employment prior to close of escrow. The inability to obtain these documents in a timely manner could delay final loan approval and the close of escrow.
Buying and selling a property is an exciting and stressful process, so it's best to be prepared for anything. From my experience in this industry, and as my experience with the fallen tree demonstrates, I've learned that anything truly can happen.