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Common Factors That Could Potentially Delay a Real Estate Closing and How to Avoid Them

As a Real Estate Attorney, I have had the privilege of working with and guiding countless clients through the complex home buying and selling process. Every transaction is different. Over the course of practicing as a Real Estate attorney, I have had several transactions delayed or even cancelled due to avoidable delays and issues. This blog will outline several common factors that could potentially delay your next residential real estate closing and how to avoid those factors.

1. Home Inspection Surprises: As a homebuyer, it is imperative to conduct a home inspection prior to closing on a property. This will help to disclose any defects or needed repairs in the home and will address any outstanding environmental concerns, such as lead paint or asbestos. It is crucial to conduct your inspection as early as possible so as not to delay the closing process. As a purchaser, you should know and understand exactly what is being repaired or remedied by the seller, before the contract is fully executed.

2. Property Condition Disclosure Statement: As of March 20th, 2024, the Property Condition Disclosure Act became effective in New York State. The Act requires all sellers of residential real property in New York State to provide a disclosure statement to all prospective purchasers outlining in detail all known defects relating to the property being sold. This disclosure must be completed by the seller prior to the fully executed contract taking effect. Once completed, the disclosure must be attached to the Contract of Sale. To avoid any delay during the “contract” process, the seller should have the disclosure fully completed in order for it to be submitted with the proposed contract of sale.

3. Loan Process/Mortgage Financing: Mortgage financing plays a huge role and is a crucial aspect during the course of any real estate transaction. Delays in mortgage financing can create significant obstacles for both the purchaser and seller. For any purchaser obtaining mortgage financing, whether it be a Conventional Loan, a VA Loan or an FHA loan, the lender should be in place prior to making an offer on a property. Further delays can be caused by credit issues, changes in employment, incomplete loan applications and last-minute condition requirements by underwriting. To minimize delays during the course of the mortgage financing process, it is imperative that purchasers are proactive and communicative with their lender. It is also important that purchasers are prompt in completing their loan application and providing their lender with all the required documentation.

4. Title Issues and Violations on the Property: During the course of a real estate transaction, it is crucial that the purchaser conduct a title search and obtain title insurance. Typically, a real estate attorney will address this with their clients and advise them on the process. Obtaining title and title defects tend to be common factors that can potentially delay a real estate closing.

5. Appraisal Discrepancies: Another common factor that may occur during the course of a real estate transaction is appraisal discrepancies. If an appraisal of a property is lower value than the agreed-upon purchase price, it can delay or even derail the transaction in its entirety. It may also cause issues in the financing process. In order to try and avoid these delays, it is important that sellers list their homes realistically and in accordance with the comparable homes in the area.

6. Closing Day Delays: The most common delay to a closing is when a purchaser does not bring certified checks. When a purchaser arrives with only personal checks, this usually causes delays and what should be a one-hour closing turns into a two-hour closing or more. The most important goal for all parties involved in a real estate transaction is getting to the closing table and avoiding the above-described factors/circumstances that could potentially lead to delays.

Overall, it is extremely important to always keep open and unhindered lines of communication with your attorney, real estate agent and lender during a real estate transaction. It is even more important that all three networks keep an open line of communication with each other.

This is not to be considered legal advice.  Please reach out to an attorney for information regarding your specific situation.

Rachel J. Rosenwasser is an Associate concentrating in residential real estate.
She can be reached by phone at 845-764-9656 or by email.

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