Kathryn's Blog


Your Closing Date is a Moving Target, So Have a Back-Up Plan in Place

Your Closing Date is a Moving Target, So Have a Back-Up Plan in Place

movingSo you've signed a purchase contract, the lender has issued a mortgage commitment, and now both the buyers and sellers are preparing to move.  In the three weeks that it typically takes for the lender and attorneys to complete their processes, there are any number of problems that may arise that will cause a delay in the closing. 

Time and again, one of the biggest mistakes that I see buyers make is to believe that their closing date is set in stone.  People schedule moving trucks and appliance deliveries for the day of closing, not realizing that they may have to wait a day or two (or longer) if problems arise. 

Just what types of problems could come up?  Here is a sampling:

The seller can not deliver clear title by the closing date.  Perhaps another party has a claim on the property.  Perhaps there is a tax lien placed by the town.  Maybe the homeowner forgot to pay his association dues, and the association now has a lien on the property.  Whatever the case, it will easily add another week (or more) in order for the attorneys to get title issues settled.

The listing agent is away, and forgot to send the smoke detector certificate to the closing attorney.  If the smoke certificate is missing, the sale can not close.  Hopefully, the listing agent has hired another agent to manage the file.  But...if no one is covering for the listing agent, there may well be a delay until the certificate is located.

The property being purchased is in Massachusetts,  but the bank that is providing the closing package is located in California and sends the package at 3 pm Pacific time.  Chances are that the attorney on the east coast has gone home.  After all, it's 6 pm in Massachusetts.  That package is not going to get processed until the following day.

The closing documents contain errors.  Let's face it, a property sale requires an enormous amount of detail, both in words and numbers.  If an error occurs, the package will have to be reissued.  I once had a Friday closing get postponed to the folloiwng Monday because the bank wrote in an incorrect loan amount!

These are just some possibilities that may arise.  The best way to deal with this type of issue is to be prepared with an alternate plan.  Here are some ideas:

  • Ask the moving company to store your belongings on the truck.  Yes, this will cost extra, but iit is an easy solution.
  • Pack your belongings into a Pods container.  This simple moving solution gives you great flexibility in packing as well as storage.
  • Locate a hotel or motel nearby.  If you have to be out of your aparmtent, and your home sale is delayed, you are going to need somewhere to sleep.  Do the research ahead of time.
  • Make arrangements with friends or family.  "Hey, if my closing is delayed, can we stay with you for a night or two?"  Just in case.
  • Best yet, try to schedule your closing on a Wednesday or Thursday, and avoid the Monday after a holiday weekend.  A mid-week closing willl allow a few extra days in case problems arise. 

Your real estate agent can give you some solid advice for dealing with delays.  Hopefully, you have already discussed this and have your back-up plan in place.  Doing so will ensure that the final days of the transaction will be less stressful for you.

Yours in real estate,

Kathryn Acciari, REALTOR
RE/MAX Professional Associates - Sturbridge, MA
(508) 982-0686 or



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Kathryn Acciari, Brand Ambassador

Century 21 Real Estate LLC
175 Park Avenue
Madison NJ 07940

Serving Brokers, Owners, and Agents Throughout New England

Cell: (508) 982-0686   

Blog: Real Estate Blog
Twitter: @kacciari

Comment balloon 5 commentsKathryn Acciari • December 04 2010 02:15PM


A good reminder to always remember closing day is always subject to change! It's best to have a Plan B! Nice Post. - David

Posted by David Burrows, No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate (Classic Realty) over 9 years ago

This is so true now a days.  You just never know what goofy thing is going to come up.  Nine times out of ten for us, it's the underwriter that throws a curve ball the week of closing.

Posted by Mickey DiPiero (Mickey DiPiero - e-Merge Real Estate - Columbus, Ohio) over 9 years ago

Kathryn  Over the past 34 years I have had my fair share of delayed closings - very good advice

Posted by Karen Kruschka, - "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS" (RE/MAX Executives) over 9 years ago

More so these days, Kathryn. Hard to tell your sellers we have a contract and you need to get ready to pack and move all your belongings - BUT things could fall apart at the last minute so have a back up plan. Hearing it up front and have suggestions like these can certainly make the difference.

Posted by Lee & Carol Barbour, REALTORS, Mountain Living Team in Murphy NC and North GA (Murphy and Hayesville, NC; Hiawassee, Blairsville, Blue Ridge GA) over 9 years ago

Kathryn, we've had to change more closing dates this year due to the loans not being completed on time.  This is a great post to remind homebuyers to make additional plans just in case.  Great post!

Posted by Kay Van Kampen, Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate (RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX) over 9 years ago