Does a closing date on a contract mean anything? Do you take it seriously? What does it mean to all of the parties involved? What does it mean to the buyer, the seller, the lender or even escrow? When I write a contract I have usually been in contact with lenders and escrow personnel asking what their work load is at the present time.
From the very beginning of my career deadlines have been very important to me. I have always made sure my clients know what "time is of the essense" meant and that it wasn't just a "saying". I would educate them on what our "computation of time" pargargph in our purchase and sale agreement meant and wanted them to take it as serious as I did.
I see this as one of the most important function of a licensed real estate agent. There are deals that have been lost because agents didn't abide by the contractual dates stated on acceptance.
What has always bothered me with this part of the home buying process is there are those involved that don't take the contract dates seriously.
In 2003 I went to work for First American Title/Escrow in Yucca Valley, California. Having come from a real estate agent background I knew a lot about the contract. When I started to question why we were not trying to meet the deadline for closing per the contract I was told that date was "an estimate" - I thought to myself - "AN ESTIMATE!" That isn't an escrow call or a lender call! I soon found out that we would just advise an agent to process an addendum to extend the contract.
Sure, it wasn't totally an escrow issue. Escrow being the final destination in most transactions is rarely given the time to complete their tasks. The issue would arise based on lender requirements (in a non-cash transaction). If the lender couldn't get their documents to escrow on time, escrow couldn't preform within contract. So many times the lender has a total different idea on what date they need to meet. Many times lenders have told my buyers what their definition of closing is and usually it is not what the legal meaning of the word really is for the State of Washington. Of course that is a topic for a whole other blog post.
Lately, I have seen the parties to a transaction act so flipant when it comes to the contract closing date. In my last 5 transactions with 3 different lenders it has been the lender that just couldn't preform. All of these lenders have pre-approved the buyer prior to a contract being written. All of these lenders had met the buyers in person.
On a couple of occasions the lender has laid blame on the buyer. The buyer didn't get all their paperwork to them in time, the buyer did not sign this or sign that, the buyer didn't send in bank statements, or their W2's. These kind of excuses just tick me off! If you are a lender and you have not received these items in the first 5 days after meeting with my client - CALL ME - I will help you! I have been known to get the documents from a buyer and drive them to a lender. Don't blame my buyers. Some of them are new to the process and really don't understand unless we help them!
Now, don't get me wrong there are lots of people in the business that do play by the rules. I just don't understand why everyone doesn't.
I see the extension of most contracts as an excuse - excuse that someone didn't do their job. The only time an extension should be acceptable is when something happens that is out of everyones control at the time a contract is written. We may not know there are several title issues until we are several days in.
I just get irritated when I have to write an addendum to extend a closing date when I have done my job, my clients have done theirs, the other buyer/seller has done theirs as well as their agent. I am tired of others not preforming knowing that if the seller wants to sell and the buyer wants to buy they will all sign an extension (or will they). Why take the chance?
Author:Jo SossJo Soss is the designated Broker and the owner of Homefront Realty in Bremerton Washington. Selling real estate in the greater Puget Sound area since 1994 she has vast knowledge in all aspects of a real estate transaction. Using today's technology with her signature personal service allows her to achieve complete customer satisfaction.
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