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5 Ways to Avoid a Delayed Closing on a Home

Few things top the excitement of “closing day” when buying a home. Whether it’s finding a great mortgage or the ideal property, it’s typically been a straightforward process in years past.

Yet, in a post-pandemic world, real estate transactions have been slowed down with mounting backlogs of electronically submitted closing documents. Much of this is due to some counties in Massachusetts holding reduced hours with overloaded staff.

For these reasons, a delayed closing on a home remains a possibility if you don’t know what pitfalls to avoid.

In this blog, we’ll share five pro-tips to help you avoid a costly and inconvenient delay in your closing.

Before we kick things off, please keep in mind that just because something is submitted electronically doesn’t mean that it’s processed instantly. This isn’t a bank deposit or an Amazon order. A human being must review and process your closing documents, and with COVID-19 changing the nature of work, delays are realistic.

Let’s get the ball rolling with our first tip below:

  1. Don’t buy and sell a home on the same day
    You may be tempted to think that just because something is electronically submitted that it’s processed instantly. Not in the case of your closing documents. In fact, the average county in Massachusetts is experiencing a backlog of 60 to 80 submissions. Closing on the same day leaves a lot to chance. Here is a safe way to buffer against the unpredictable:
    • Sell first. You don’t need to wait an unusually long time to buy your home, but you may wish to leave a few days between the sale of your current home and the purchase of your next one.
      This doesn’t mean that you should start your house hunt after you sell. You can have your next property already in the works. But it may not be a good idea to place all your hopes on the assumption that your closing day will go smoothly.It’s all about putting you in control so that a potentially delayed closing on a home does not blindside you.
  1. Say goodbye to Friday
    Take all the reasons mentioned above and top it off with a weekend of radio silence. That’s the nightmare scenario that could be waiting for you if you close on a Friday. One clerical error, misspelling, or incorrect submission can send things downhill quickly. It’s important to get these issues resolved as quickly as possible. A Friday closing guarantees further delays should such an issue arise. You want to budget time to make corrections, and waiting two days is hardly ideal, especially if you’ve already sold your home and have nowhere to put your belongings. Don’t let this be you.
  1. Have a back-up plan for a delayed closing on a home
    This one’s a great idea, as it helps you cover your bases. Even if you’ve done everything right, higher than normal processing times can lead to snags in an otherwise smooth transaction. Consider these smart back-up plans to safeguard yourself against a delayed closing:
    • Make temporary living arrangements. Is there a family member, friend, hotel/motel that you can stay in while you wait to close on your next one? Having this lined up in advance can save you tons of stress.
    • Rent a storage unit just in case. This one’s self-explanatory, but if you can’t stash your stuff at a relative or friend’s place, having a storage unit for a week will take a load off, both literally and mentally.
    • Have kids and pets? Any temporary living arrangement should be a pet-friendly place offering WIFI for remote learning.
    • Stay close to where you’re moving to. If possible, your temporary place and storage unit should be close to your next home. This will make your move easier.It’s also a great idea to have movers on standby or a rental reservation that you can rely on. When the day comes to close on your home, it will feel good to be ready.
  1. Ask your attorney about in-person options
    In our digital age, connecting with a live professional is always best for getting results on time. Remember that many of these delays are caused by mounting electronic submissions lined up for later review. Pursuing an in-person option is the best way to ensure that your paperwork has been submitted correctly and processed when you need it to be. Your lawyer and local mortgage broker may have insights into how to get your application in front of someone who can move it forward with accuracy.
  1. Check, double-check, then check again. Buying a home is an exciting time, and you may find yourself rushing through important steps without even realizing it. Be sure to check and re-check any documents for inaccuracies. Check out these strategies to make sure things are correct on your end:
    • Have your attorney look over your documents before they’re submitted
    • Ask questions to verify that you have a complete understanding of what’s required of you
    • Write down the steps you need to submit your documents accurately

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask reinforcing questions that will ensure you understand what you need to do. It’s better to ask the same question multiple times than to assume you know and then experience a delayed closing on a home.

Whatever comes next, we’re here to help

Every day, we guide our clients through what they need to do for a smooth closing process. We also partner with trusted professionals, such as expert real estate agents and attorneys, who are ready to help you successfully close on a home.

Contact us today to discover how we can make your mortgage experience easier.

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