As the spring housing market heats up, it’s a busy time for closing deals. The price you pay is very important, but you also have to think carefully about your closing date, so that everything goes smoothly.
Here are seven things to remember:
: The last Friday of a month is typically the busiest day in most real estate law offices, especially in the summer. This mean many deals won’t be able to close until late in the day. Worse, if the deal has to be extended, you don’t get keys until the following Monday, or maybe Tuesday if it is over a long weekend.
: If there are delays, it is much easier to manage a one-day extension than an extension over a weekend.
You should be out of your home by 3 p.m. on closing day. Most real estate contracts stipulate that sellers must turn over possession as soon as the deal is registered electronically. Usually — assuming it is not the last Friday of the month — that happens by 2 to 3 p.m. Vacant possession must be given to the buyer at that time.
: If you are buying and selling in the same time period, close two days early and get bridge financing. You will close your deal without pressure and have a few days to move in while you wait until your sale closes. This will also make it much easier to negotiate an extension, if you have to, as you will not be dependent on the money from your sale to close your purchase.
: You must turn the house over in broom-swept condition, which means no garbage. Buyers should make a final visit two days before closing to make sure the seller is properly cleaning up.
: Buyers should not plan to move in until late in the day or the day after closing, to avoid paying extra to movers if things get backed up or the deal has to be extended.
: Even if you are not moving in that day, buyers should check the condition of the home on the day of closing, to make sure that nothing has been broken or damaged. The seller typically guarantees everything will be working on the closing date, not afterwards, so find out right away if you need to make a claim about anything after closing.
By doing your homework before choosing a closing date, you should be able to avoid pitfalls later.