The Closing Should Be The Easy Part
Your realtor knows the market to find you a home. They know how to market and have all the resources to sell your house. These are important skills but one of the most important assets they can bring is to get you through the buying or selling process without any surprises. Gibson Sotheby's provides a software where I track all the important steps in the process. What needs to be signed, what needs to be shared etc. Communication with you, the lenders, and attorneys along the way is key. The closing should be stress-free and the fun part! Our General Council at Gibson Sotheby's International Realty recently shared some advice with wickedlocal.com on what is takes for a successful closing. Read below.
Your offer was accepted, but what will it take for a successful closing
Joanna K. Tzouvelis
When running in a race, as you approach the finish line, you hope you don’t collapse before you get there. Anything could go wrong at any time. Similarly, when a buyer makes an offer on a house and it’s accepted by the seller, there are many moving parts and several hurdles to get over before getting to the closing.
Richard Sullivan, general counsel for Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, has been representing clients at closings for more than 20 years. He knows how emotional buyers and sellers can get between the time an offer is accepted and the closing.
“For some buyers, it will be the biggest purchase of their life,” said Sullivan. “It’s stressful, nerve-wracking and people have to be prepared for that even if they are even-keeled.”
Things could go wrong, he said, but the team of professionals working with you (mortgage broker, real estate attorney, real estate agent), should help prevent anyone from going for the jugular.
“You should always leave a little good will with the other side, whichever side you’re on,” said Sullivan.
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If it’s been a bitter transaction since day one, Sullivan said, then it’s more likely buyers will find a problem at the walk-through, which is usually one day before the closing. For instance, a wall bracket for a television is left mounted on a wall, but the buyer expected the seller to remove it and patch the holes. If the purchase and sale agreement doesn't specify the wall mounts must be removed and all holes patched, then the seller could get away with leaving it.
Other times, sellers leave behind belongings or trash and buyers have no choice but to get rid of it themselves or their real estate agent may offer to assist
Manage emotions when closing the sale
It is important for the agents on both sides to help manage emotions and calm any storms that come up.
A deal doesn’t usually fall through because property is left behind, said Sullivan. However, it’s when the money doesn’t arrive that things could go wrong.
Sometimes wires are late, he said, which prevents the buyer from getting the keys. The seller usually doesn’t want to turn over the keys until the money is in hand and the transaction is recorded.
Another thing that could go wrong is a buyer's employment could be terminated prior to the closing, which could affect financing at the last minute.
Beware of wire fraud
Sullivan has seen people fall victim to wire fraud, especially before a long holiday weekend. He warns all his clients about wire fraud.
Wire instructions are usually sent the day before by the closing attorney, but scammers who hack email send another email to the client saying the wire instructions have changed and giving new instructions.
If the money is wired incorrectly, it’s gone, said Sullivan.
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“Fraudsters who hack email can mimick someone else’s email and send it to them,” said Sullivan. He instructs all his clients to call before following any email instructions. “Last minute changes typically don’t happen,” he said.
He said they have to make sure they recognize who they are talking to and that the phone number is the one they usually call.
Carefully review closing disclosure
Joe Smith, senior vice president for CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC in Boston, who has been in the lending business for almost 30 years, said the closing disclosure is a very important document and should be reviewed carefully by the buyer with their lender to prevent surprises at the closing. This document outlines all the closing costs and should be provided no later than three days before the closing, said Smith.
Other surprises real estate agent should help prevent
Unpaid water and fuel bills, failure to pass Title 5 septic system inspections or late or failed smoke detector inspections could cause closings to be delayed, said Smith. Real estate agents play an important role in making sure these inspections and payments are taken care of prior to the closing to prevent surprises and delays, he said.
Laws provide protection
Sullivan said a lot has changed over the years and more laws are in place that protect buyers and prevent closings from being delayed.
"Lenders are very good about making sure disclosures are accurate and closings happen on time," said Sullivan.
If a lender allowed closings to be delayed because they didn't have accurate information, no one would want to work with that lender and they would be out of business, he said.