With the volume of closings that we have, we handle a lot of different personalities, situations, and behaviors when we go through our closing process. Being aware of these in advance, and perhaps trying to get ahead of the issues, can sometimes make the difference between a happy closing and a dramatic one.
1. Closing Dates: Avoid closing dates that are the last business day of the month or the last business day before a long holiday weekend. Take the time to look at a calendar when the contract is being drafted. Lenders and closing agents will thank you.
2. Simultaneous Closing: Counsel your buyers that a simultaneous closing, while seemingly synchronistic, may end up with excessive stress and emotions when the first closing domino does not fall as expected. Create the expectation that the closing is not a light switch that just needs to be turned on and off.
3. The Immediate Move In: Similarly, buyers expecting to close while the moving van is in the closing agent’s parking lot, or worse, in the driveway of the residence being purchased, have a great likelihood of frustration, anger, and tears when they are told they are not allowed to access the property. It is worse when the closing is on a Friday and no access can be granted until the following Monday at the earliest. At the very least, buyers should be advised in advance about the risks of possible delays so that they can make alternate plans.
4. The Failure to Communicate: Communication is critical and delays or failure to provide accurate information and decisions can many times result in the inability of the closing parties to accommodate changes or newly discovered information. Need to have someone else join in your loan, have a pet who is not “yet” an approved service animal, or don’t have anywhere else to park the RV or commercial vehicle? Find that out upfront, not on the day before closing.
5. Responsiveness and Focus: Failure to focus early on in the closing process will result in panicked last-minute changes and requests for information by the closing agent and the lender. A buyer should review all summary documents and disclosures provided to them at the time they are provided.
6. Taking Title: Decisions as to how to take title affect multiple parts of the closing process, including preparation of closing documents, title searches, loan underwriting decisions, and the supplying of substantiating documents. Many buyers need to be counseled about the choices that they have, so that should be done as early in the closing process as possible.
7. Attitude: Beware of the know it all who doesn’t. Perhaps the only solution to this is to be consistent in providing all normal and applicable closing information regardless of how it is received or responded to.
8. Cooperation: Get a commitment early on in the closing process as to where the parties intend to be on the date of closing and do they have a working phone, internet, and available overnight courier service. We routinely get last-minute phone calls alerting us to an international vacation on the date of closing. While we can usually accommodate that, it is not a “closing as usual” situation and requires a lot of alternative advanced planning and process.
As much as we would like to think that our clients will of course be forthright, accommodating, and of good cheer, every closing should begin with our awareness of the quicksand and cow pies that we tread through to make each closing successful. Please make sure an experienced real estate attorney is involved in your closings as part of your closing team to work together with you.
Chris Caswell, Esq.
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC
This communication is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, and to the extent, anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.
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