Delay in Home Closing. How do I Stop the Panic?
December 11, 2013 6:12 AM   Subscribe

In appears, due to a combination of factors, we are short the necessary funds needed to close on our home purchase, scheduled for this Friday at noon. What can I do to smooth this situation over with the sellers and myriad of volunteers slated to help us move on Saturday and ease my own massive anxiety on having to delay the closing?

In order to cover the 20% down and closing costs we accepted a gift from one of Mr. theBRKP siblings and sold some stock. However, Mr. theBRKP refused to sell the stock until we received the results of the home appraisal. Which was ordered late and over the Thanksgiving holiday, causing a delay.

It is now two days before close and the check from the sale of the stock is still in the mail. Because we are putting down a substantial sum of money, we cannot bring a cashier's check to the close. The funds must be wired into the settlement account before COB on Thursday.

We cannot take an advance on the credit card, as this would tank the sale immediately, even though we would be able to write a check to pay off the card on Monday. We cannot accept additional gift funds, as those funds need to be documented and cleared by the underwriter before closing.

The sellers are very elderly, have been stressed out by this process and will most likely panic when they learn that we are temporarily short the funds. Our agent, who was apprised of this potential development last week (and said she was not going to panic until it was time to panic), is currently unavailable until late Thursday, as she is attending her mother's funeral.

I have considered offering the sellers some money to allow us to move into the home on Saturday as planned (the sellers vacated the home on Tuesday). With the money would come any documentation they would need to see in order to ease their fears that we are trying to steal their home. Could I do this directly with the sellers? And how do I manage the explosions that will erupt from our moving helpers if we can't move this weekend as planned?

We are in PA. Please hope me?
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs to Law & Government (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Our agent, who was apprised of this potential development last week (and said she was not going to panic until it was time to panic)

You've answered your own question there - a competent professional who is incentivized to make the sale has indicated she is not (yet) worried about this and has not suggested you do anything about it (yet).

Could I do this directly with the sellers?

Absolutely not. It'll annoy your agent, possibly the other party's agent, and set the expectation that any minor hiccup in the purchasing process results in extra money. If this is your only hiccup in the purchasing process... you've done pretty well.

And how do I manage the explosions that will erupt from our moving helpers if we can't move this weekend as planned?

This sounds like catastrophizing to me. If you paid the helpers, cancel the appointment now - unless they indicated otherwise, three days notice is quite reasonable. If you aren't paying the helpers, then they're going to be doing less work than otherwise, and I can't imagine they'll mind.
posted by saeculorum at 6:21 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


You need to talk to your real estate agent (and depending on the state, your lawyer) about this. Things like this happen. The sellers, at this point, might panic. But....they probably really, really don't want to start over on selling the home. Even if they do panic, their real estate agent is there to represent their best interests...and at this point it is probably their best interest to just go ahead with you and deal with a last-minute late closing. This kind of thing happens and the real estate agents for you and the seller should have great ways of smoothing this over.

Now, about the move.....that is almost a separate issue. Again, the real estate agents involved might know how to deal with this. It might mean that the extra cost to you will come in having the hassle and expense of rescheduling your move.
posted by BearClaw6 at 6:22 AM on December 11, 2013


i'm confused--how is taking out a cash advance on your credit cards going to tank the sale? i could see a large amount affecting your loan process but i would think that this far along that part is already done.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:36 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The key people here are the real estate agents on both sides. They will want this sale to go through, because they'll get it in 2013. It's almost done, and a delay of a few days shouldn't matter that much. By contrast, if they allow the seller to torpedo the sale, it will be at least a month until they can close with another buyer.

Talk with your real estate agent when they get back, and let them work it out with the seller's agent. That's what real estate agents are for. Don't approach the seller directly. That way lies madness. Keep calm and carry on.
posted by alms at 6:40 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


You need to stay above board and deal only with your agent here, letting them do whatever if necessary. Follow their lead.

If your move-in date is pushed, let your friends know you really appreciate their offers of help. Then get movers for your new move-in date, because if you're grown-up enough to buy a house, you're grown-up enough to not do that to your friends anymore. If any of those people are *angry* that you have to cancel, that's weird and kind of not okay. Movers are also much, much faster than mere mortals.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:53 AM on December 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


When I bought my house a few years ago, the sellers delayed the closing date several times - usually with an agreed-upon contract extension, but the final time we just walked in to closing and were told that the sellers weren't ready (this is somewhat rare but it was a complicated situation). It was panic-inducing but it wasn't the end of the world. We could have walked away right there if we wanted to, but we had a lot of skin in the game and we trusted that the house would be ours sooner rather than later. It doesn't look like you'll have the money to close on Friday, even if you got the check today (it'll take a few days to clear), but it's highly doubtful that the sale will tank because of this. If you can, send your agent an email now to let her know what's up. Does she have an assistant you can contact? Otherwise, take a deep breath and trust your agent to do her job when she gets back on Thursday.
posted by muddgirl at 7:08 AM on December 11, 2013


i'm confused--how is taking out a cash advance on your credit cards going to tank the sale? i could see a large amount affecting your loan process but i would think that this far along that part is already done.

Underwriting standards have tightened in recent years, and lenders now run a second credit check very close to the closing date. Putting thousands of dollars on their cards could screw up their loan.
posted by Diablevert at 7:11 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think anyone could understand slight delays as money is wired to various accounts. Just explain all the details to the sellers, and provide them with documentations showing that the money is indeed on its way.

But, this:
I have considered offering the sellers some money to allow us to move into the home on Saturday as planned (the sellers vacated the home on Tuesday).
I can't see this working. You don't have the money to close, and now you want to offer more money to move in. Why would they trust that, when you come to the table with no money to close? That would make me nervous, very nervous. Get the money together for the house, and smooth things out with friends are helping you move on a (now new) date.
posted by Houstonian at 7:14 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


There must be ways to get proof of the sale of stock and that the check is in the mail. Perhaps it would be helpful to spend time securing a crazy level of documentation on this, just in case? "The check is in the mail" doesn't sound exactly as good as "here's a letter from the broker stating where the money is coming from and when it will arrive".

Also, is there no way to get the check cancelled in transit and the money wired directly? These are all above board people with ongoing business relationships--can no one help facilitate this?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:31 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sounds like your underwriters here are insisting on scrutinizing everything and doing this by the book, which is not out of bounds where the buyers needed family to give them money to be able to afford the house.

You're just going to have to wait this out, OP, and try not to get too mad at your dear husband for causing this delay by not selling the stock in a timely manner.

"how do I manage the explosions that will erupt from our moving helpers if we can't move this weekend as planned?"

There's that wonderful expression: "Your failure to plan does not constitute my emergency." Since your husband's refusal to sell the stock in time caused this delay, this bit with the "moving helpers" is actually his problem to own, not yours. (I mean, you don't wipe his hiney after he takes a poo, right?) He needs to do the damage control, not you. The burden should be on your husband to manage the expectations and prevent the "explosions" (oy) of the "myriad of volunteers" you have arranged, and to hire licensed, bonded movers if need be.

"Our agent... is currently unavailable until late Thursday, as she is attending her mother's funeral."

Please, please, please do not take the advice to contact your agent until she indicated she is available again, on late Thurs. It's her mother's funeral for heaven's sake!

You need to be patient, and keep on resisting the knee-jerk reaction to "do something." Doing something is not the right move here. Waiting, for now, is.

And no, if you are seriously worried that the sellers "fear that you are trying to steal their home," then you violating the social contract by communicating directly the the sellers behind the Realtors' backs will only make those fears worse IMHO, because to paranoid sellers that looks shady. THAT is the one idea mentioned here that could actually torpedo the whole deal.
posted by hush at 7:50 AM on December 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is catastrophizing.

You have sold the stock. You will have the money a few days later. You have some of the down payment already. You may even be able to borrow all of the missing money from the down payment from friends and family members, because you are paying them back within a few days, depending on how the underwriters look at things.

You can tell your real estate agent that you would really like to move in on Saturday, and could she (or her assistant who is dealing with this while she is unavailable) discuss alternate options. Can you wire what you have by Thursday and wire the rest when you get the money from the sale of stock? Can you bring the rest by cashier's cheque or bank draft once you've wired what you have?

Your problem is that your real estate agent is AWOL at closing and hasn't assigned anyone to help her clients. You can call the office she works out of and ask for whoever is handling her stuff; you shouldn't be calling her while she's at the funeral.
posted by jeather at 7:51 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Contact the firm you Agent works for. Someone is prepared to stand in.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:00 AM on December 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


The only thing I can really speak to is the "myriad of volunteers slated to help us move on Saturday." If they volunteered to help you move, those are some good people and they won't be annoyed to hear that, good news - their Saturday is now free! Or if they are annoyed to hear it, they'll keep it to themselves. Plus, if they're planning to help you with a move, they should know that anything can and will interrupt a move. I once organized friends to help me move, we got to the place and found out that they wouldn't let us use the service elevator on Sunday so move postponed. It was stressful but we survived. You will too.

When I trained to run a marathon, my coach told us that, the days before the race and the morning of, we needed to trust our training. We laid the groundwork and did what we needed to do. Now is the time for everything to fall into place. This is a hiccup. It's stressful but I'm sure your realtor has seen much worse. Take a deep breath and trust that the professionals who are helping you through this process will get you across the finish line.
posted by kat518 at 8:02 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was just coming in to say what Ironmouth said. It would be a kindness to not contact your agent when she's at her mother's funeral, but I can't imagine there isn't someone that can help you at the firm she's working at. This isn't a trivial situation like "I want to set up some showings for the weekend" where you should just wait until the night before to deal with it; I can't imagine that contacting the firm/brokerage and asking for guidance or help while your agent is unavailable would be seen as inappropriate by anyone.
posted by iminurmefi at 8:09 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


If there were something your Realtor, or an associate, or your Realtor's administrative assistant could do to close this deal ASAP, know that they're doing it. Calling their office after your Realtor told you she's unavailable because of her mother's funeral will not endear you to anybody. They will just tell you the same thing: no. The professionals have all told you nothing can be done right now, and that you must wait. They have been unanimous. Hear that, even though it's not what you want to hear - and try not to let your emotions run wild.
posted by hush at 8:32 AM on December 11, 2013


I also would suggest not setting a firm date that you'll have the money until you have received the check, and deposited it into your bank account. I've had my bank put a hold on funds from stock sale checks, even though I'm a multi-decade customer with account balances many multiples the size of the check, and the check is from a subsidiary of the same bank! So it's not necessarily safe to assume that you'll have access to the funds on the day the check arrives...
posted by primethyme at 8:46 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Update: Thanks for the necessary (if slightly painful) tough love and verbal slap upside the head to get me to calm down.

Thank you to everyone who suggested contacting our agent's backup. That option honestly did not occur to me. I will be calling him at lunch (For the record, I would not dream of disturbing our agent- I may catastrophize, but I'm not that level of a jerk).

I wanted to use professional movers (not-quite-healed broken ankle makes me close to useless) and was vetoed by hubby, who said he would take care of it and recruited a bunch of his family to help us out. So I am stepping back and allowing this to be the hubby's issue to solve.

The idea to offer money to the sellers to allow us to move in before close came from some real estate forums. One of the suggestions was to fully release a portion of the deposit to the sellers as an incentive. I intended to vet this through our agent, not directly with the sellers, but I will let this idea go and I apologize for not being more clear with my words.

Diablevert is correct. Every single penny we are using for the down payment and closing costs has to be verified by the lender. Taking out an advance on the credit card would be considered taking on an additional loan and the lender will cancel the mortgage. This is our third (and LAST) home purchase and this experience has been vastly different from the prior two.

All of you rock.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 8:48 AM on December 11, 2013


The idea to offer money to the sellers to allow us to move in before close came from some real estate forums. One of the suggestions was to fully release a portion of the deposit to the sellers as an incentive. I intended to vet this through our agent, not directly with the sellers, but I will let this idea go and I apologize for not being more clear with my words.

Though people seem to be objecting to this option, it's actually not that uncommon in this situation. I've done it before and it was really not a big deal. Your loan is approved and this is just a short paper-work delay. It's free money for the seller.
posted by originalname37 at 2:48 PM on December 11, 2013


OK, you can't take an advance on the credit card.

I'm completely pulling this idea out of the air, but...

Go to a payday lender / title loan place. Talk to a manager, or someone else higher up the food chain. Explain your situation. Tell them that you want to borrow a few thousand dollars for a few days, discreetly and quickly.

These business are built around providing quick, short-term cash. You'll probably pay a finance charge of several percent of the loan, more than you would on a credit card advance.

But given that you're reasonably creditworthy, and not their usual clientele, you might be able to get a relatively reasonable finance charge.
posted by Hatashran at 3:55 PM on December 11, 2013


I just wanted to chime in and say that I work for a residential real estate lawyer, and probably 50% of all closing dates get changed for one reason or another, it's not a big deal. Just talk to your realtor and attorney and I'm sure they will calmly tell you it's not a big catastrophe and closing dates can be changed.

If you want to move in prior to closing, you'll need your attorney to draw up a contract for pre-closing possession and be prepared to pay "rent" to the current owners, as well as putting some money in escrow to cover anything going wrong. This is also pretty common BUT I personally wouldn't do this myself. It is a headache and the current owners might not like the idea.
posted by katypickle at 4:16 PM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Go to a payday lender / title loan place.

I guess the deadline is passed, but I hope you didn't do this. (and that no one who comes upon this thread at a later date even contemplates this). At the close, you have to sign paperwork that specifically states that you didn't do anything like this. If you get caught, you can be sued ... for the entire value of the mortgage all at once! (you basically lose the house) Also, imagine there is another delay on your end? Besides, I don't think payday lenders even work in these amounts.
posted by originalname37 at 10:04 AM on December 16, 2013


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