September 30, 2020
You’ve searched and searched. You’ve found THE house! And this time, out of the multitude of offers on the table, yours was accepted!
You do your happy dance. You line up your home inspection, apply for your mortgage, tell all your friends, contact a painter, you start packing, YOU ARE EXCITED!!!! You cannot wait for the closing day to be here so you can move in. And then you get the call, or the text, or the email that nope, you are not closing on the day you planned for.
How can this be? You took off from work! You have a mover scheduled! You have furniture being delivered! Your mother is coming to clean the kitchen!
Yes, it is awful and yes, it happens all the time. In fact, in 2020, they rarely occur on the scheduled date. Why?
With literally hundreds of folks involved in the transaction, and the busiest residential real estate market IN HISTORY here in northern New Jersey, it is no wonder. Lenders are snowed-under. Lawyers are drowning in closings. Home Inspectors are impossible to get. Municipal Inspections for a seller’s certificate of occupancy (necessary to close) are not happening “in person,” happening sporadically, and not happening at all – and sometimes all 3 on the same day! And every contractor – from the guy who treats for termites, to the plumber, painter, and carpenter – are booked for weeks out. So, I think we can all understand when a closing date occasionally gets changed. But, every once in a while, a closing delay is completely avoidable. Like when its just more convenient for one party or another to change the agreed-upon date. Boy does this get me mad!
We have these adorable, first-time homebuyers. They were in a bidding war. They gave the seller everything the sellers asked for and then some – including a closing that was scheduled 90 days out. Now, our average time to close is 57 days here. In fact, lenders will not allow you to lock in on a rate for more than 60 days. But these buyers took the risk; they really wanted the house. And the seller, and the seller’s agent, assured us and them, that they could stay with relatives nearby if they had to.
Turned out, it was far more convenient for them to stay right in their home for yet another week and delay the closing. No compelling reason. Did they care that the buyers are both in the medical field and had already gotten approval for their moving days off? No. Was the agent apologetic? Not one bit. Do the buyers have any legal recourse? Nope, none. Was it heartbreaking for me to tell the buyers that all their carefully made, eagerly anticipated, oh-so-joyful, moving plans were out the window and no, there is nothing they can do about it? You betcha!
It is hard enough trying to buy a home in this market. The sellers have every advantage. So please, sellers, have some compassion for your buyers. Be true to your word. Follow the Golden Rule; it is more important now than ever.