Peter Blondin
e-Pro, ABR, MBA Realtor
703-932-6816

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5 Causes of Closing Delays

by Peter Blondin 05/19/2021


Real estate transactions have so many steps and moving parts they can feel unending. Your hard work and patience will pay off when you reach your closing day—as long as there are no unforeseen issues. Unfortunately, there are some common reasons that a closing can be delayed. While you cannot predict everything, you can familiarize yourself with some of the typical problems that can occur in order to prepare for them. Here are some of the most common reasons closing can be delayed:

The Buyer’s Mortgage Is Not Approved

Mortgage approval issues are the most common cause of home transactions being delayed or even terminated. During the approval process, a lender will observe your financial situation to monitor for any risky credit behavior. If they find something, it could either cause them to change the mortgage terms or deny the request outright. To avoid this, buyers should get full preapproval from their lender well before making an offer on a home but they should also avoid borrowing more money or opening new credit accounts until closing.

The Appraisal Is Too Low

Your mortgage lender requires an appraisal on the home to figure out its value. They then compare this appraisal with the listing price. If the appraisal comes back lower than the price of the home, you might have to negotiate with the seller to make up the difference. This can cause delays even if the buyer or seller can come to a quick agreement. The lender might require certain repairs to the property or a second appraisal done.

The Inspection Found Something Serious

Even if you take care of home inspections well in advance, there’s always the chance something will come up in a final walkthrough. You may also face a situation where the initial inspection found something serious, but the repairs are causing the delay. There are also some specific types of inspection (termite, mold or radon, to name a few) that lenders might require before granting final approval for the mortgage. Any delays in checking these boxes will push back your closing date.

There’s a Claim on the Title

You must acquire a title report as part of the escrow process. If the report shows anything negative on the title — either true or in error—the issues must be resolved before the sale can move forward. It’s common for homeowners to be completely unaware of title issues until they sell, which can cause delays and frustration. Getting a title insurance policy will help you in case there are any liens or claims to the property, but correcting the issue can still take time.

The Buyer Backs Out

Sometimes people simply change their minds. Unfortunately, this can mean a sudden cancellation of the entire transaction in the event a buyer walks away. A common part of real estate contracts is to have the buyer put down a deposit known as earnest money that shows their intent to follow through with the purchase. This gives the seller some extra monetary protection if the buyer leaves. However, it won’t make up for any lost time or effort.

Not every problem can be prevented but the more you know about potential issues before they arise, the better. Always go over contracts carefully and do things like appraisals and inspections as early as possible to prevent the more common.

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