Every Date Matters
As a realtor, I have noticed it is common practice to proceed during the "in contract" period with loose adherence to the agreed upon dates. When I say "in contract", I mean the time period between when the parties sign the Purchase Contract and when the deal actually closes. There is an insane amount of dates in that thing. Unfortunately, Every Date Matters.
Although realtors may want to be flexible and "easy to work with," attorneys are highly inflexible (I won't say difficult to work with) and failure to adhere to these dates gives them ammunition to help a buyer or seller get out of that contract. As a result, one party will be extremely upset (mostly at her realtor) that the deal fell through, and the realtors won't get paid for all their efforts and hard work.
So what's a realtor to do? First, know the dates. I'll briefly address them here by category: Contractual, Financial, Inspection, Title, Closing and Possession.
Note the date that the contract is actually executed in its entirety, including all counter offers.
Duration of the offer: How long does a seller have to respond to an offer? Once the time lapses, the offer is dead, the deal could be dead too.
Attorney Approval Clause: Unless kept blank, us pesky attorneys have a fixed amount of time to squash the deal.
Financing: There are a few gems in this section. If it's a cash deal, the buyer must provide evidence of future funds within the stated time period, OR THE SELLER CAN TERMINATE. If the buyer is obtaining a mortgage, the buyer must provide a pre-qualification letter, proof of loan application and identity of lender, and loan commitment on time OR THE SELLER CAN TERMINATE.
Appraisal Contingency: If a buyer does not provide written notice to the seller of a low appraisal within 3 days of receipt, the buyer can no longer object. YIKES!
Escrow: If escrow money is required by the contract (although not required by Ohio law), the buyer has 3 days after acceptance of the contract or after the expiration of the Agreement to Remedy Period to deposit the earnest money with a broker.
Specific Inspection Period: During this time, the buyer must not only hire possibly several inspectors, but they must actually show up to inspect the property, provide a report to the buyer, and the buyer and her realtor must review the report and submit a request to remedy to the seller. Whew, that's a lot to stay on top of.
After the Specific Inspection Period, the parties have a finite period of time to negotiate the remedy and reach a written agreement or terminate the contract. If the buyers dilly dally, they can no longer terminate the contract or renegotiate a lower price based on the inspection. YIKES!
Remember the seller is responsible for providing title insurance at closing. But the seller is also responsible for delivering a Title Commitment to the buyer no later than 15 days prior to closing. This gives the buyer a chance to examine the title and make objections. If the seller overlooks this step, THE BUYER CAN TERMINATE.
The buyer then has 10 days to object in writing to the title defects.
Closing and Possession:
Closing: There is a specified date for the closing. The buyer has the most work to do before the closing, and they need to get on the ball as soon as the contract is signed.
Walk Through: The buyer must verify the condition of the property within a few days before closing. With limited exceptions, objections can not be made after the deal has closed.
Possession: Don't overlook this provision. When does the seller want to be out? When does the buyer need to be in? Some seller's don't feel comfortable giving possession at closing. If the deal falls through and the seller has packed and loaded a moving truck, they will have wasted time and money. A buyer may not be comfortable allowing a seller to stay in her house even minutes after she owns it. Either way, it needs to be discussed, negotiated, and adhered to. Logistics depend on it.
Don't loose a deal because you lost track of the dates. Check out my YouTube video for an easy action plan on how to stay on top of the dates to help ensure a smooth, professional closing.
Best of luck and go crush the day!