Article by Cindy Lyons, Owner and Principal Broker at NELM
You spend months marketing your property, cleaning the house for showings and then you get an offer and work through all details (negotiating, inspection, appraisal, financing, other contingencies), looking forward to closing. Or, you spend months looking at multiple properties, reconfiguring your expectations, narrowing down the prospects, making an offer and working through the same details as above.
Everyone patiently waits for that hopeful "Clear to Close" from the lender. You are thrilled when you get it and usually it is clear sailing from there. But that is not always the case. What can go wrong at the closing table? Let's see...
Some unexpected things can happen either at closing, or the days just prior. There are some things you can do to avoid a delay.
Take care of all inspection items early on. You may find yourself at the mercy of contractors' schedules or waiting on ordered parts. If you are the Buyer, do not wait until the walk-through to make sure the items have been done.
Look over your closing statement very carefully. You want to make sure all pro-rations, commissions and deposits are accounted for. Were the utilities, association fees, and taxes (town and/or village) all taken into account? A missing item can cause disruption at the closing table.
If you are wiring money, make sure the process is started in a timely manner in relation to your closing day and time. If the money is not there, you won't close.
If needed, set up a Power of Attorney (POA) ahead of time, so your attorney (or other appropriate person) can sign the papers for you if you cannot be there. If you are the executor of an estate, make sure you qualify to have POA to sign the paperwork. Recent laws preclude those who benefit from a sale to have POA to sign the closing documents.
All Buyers should do a final walk-through to ensure all personal property has been removed, all appliances/items that were to remain are still there, and the home is broom clean. This is also an opportunity to make sure all work that was promised to be done has been completed.
If you are the Seller...don't save your packing for the week before closing. Moving always takes longer than you think and Buyers rightfully expect a final walk through with the home cleared of all the Seller's personal belongings and clean. It is in the contract.
One last tip. It is not advised to allow a Buyer to move personal property into the home prior to closing. If the closing is held up or does not happen, it can lead to a very awkward and possibly contentious situation. We all want to play nice...but it is still really good advice to heed!