Do I need my realtor for closing, or is she extraneous at this point?
September 14, 2010 11:55 AM   Subscribe

We are about to close on a new property. The loan is set; all systems are go, but my realtor just called to say that she can't make the closing date because she's been invited to some shindig in another state and wants to know if we can change it. Do we need her there for anything?

We've already scheduled time off for the closing. The routing for funds is already scheduled. The seller has also already scheduled time on that date. In addition, we offered the seller a fee-free lease back until the end of the month after closing so they can finish moving out.

Moving the closing up, while not impossible, is inconvenient. It also means that I'll be paying a mortgage and insurance and interest for house I can't occupy, for an even longer period because we can't make the sellers move out earlier, just because my realtor wants to go on vacation on the day we have scheduled.

Do I actually need my realtor there for anything on the day of closing? Is there some task she performs, or can we go ahead with the closing as scheduled without her there?
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet to Home & Garden (23 answers total)
We didn't have our agent present at closing, and didn't need her. But I have a feeling this varies by location. We're in CA.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:58 AM on September 14, 2010

My realtor was not there for the closing, just the lawyer, us, and the sellers. We signed a bunch of stuff and that was that. Then we went to dinner with the realtor later that week. No big thing.

If this is a normal closing on a normal house with all systems go, I'd say you're good without.
posted by somacore at 11:59 AM on September 14, 2010

My realtor wasn't at the closing, just the lawyer. This was in MA about nine years ago.
posted by bondcliff at 12:01 PM on September 14, 2010

This might depend on your state. At our last closing (a sale) in GA, the realtors for both sides sat and made chit-chat while the closing attorney pretty much ran the show for us and the buyers.

When we bought in TN, I don't even think the sellers were present. We showed up and signed our part of the paperwork with the title person running the show. Our realtor was there as a courtesy. The loan guy wandered in as well, but only because his office was in the next suite over and he was sort of bored.
posted by jquinby at 12:01 PM on September 14, 2010

What state are you in?

I closed in Missouri without my realtor on my first house with no problem. However, your realtor should be willing to send someone else from her firm to your closing, or at least have someone else from her firm available in case a problem arises.

It is not your problem she has a scheduling conflict, it is her problem. You should not incur additional costs because of this, and you should not be the one having to work around it. I was totally comfortable closing without my realtor, but my dad used to own a real estate company, so I'm not your usual home purchaser.
posted by fyrebelley at 12:07 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would call your realtor, ask what role she would play and if her presence is necessary. If you determine that it is important ask her to make a an appropriate person available. Quite honestly, her request seems a bit tacky and unprofessional. She is getting paid quite well to be available to you and/or make sure her presence and role is appropriately represented.
posted by rmhsinc at 12:07 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

IANYL, but the realtor's duties can/should be delegated to your lawyer fairly easily, and you shouldn't have to change any of your arrangements. The realtor shouldn't have that much to do on closing day as it is -- acting as a go-between for the buyer and seller (if necessary), and releasing the keys. Your lawyer should be able to do all of that already.

That said, if there's a hiccup with closing, your realtor should be within reach to help work through them -- after all, it's her deal, she knows it, and she should have to work for her money. But even then, your lawyer should be able to handle those same problems.

She put the deal together, and she's obliged to see it through. But your lawyer should be handling everything at this point, anyway. As with most legal arrangements, as long as nothing goes wrong, everything should be fine. No realtor means you're eliminating a middle man.

So to answer your question, is your realtor necessary at this point? No. Do you want her there as a resource in addition to your lawyer? Talk it over with him.

And all of this depends on your jurisdiction, obnatch.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:08 PM on September 14, 2010

Response by poster: We're in Texas. There's an attorney who works for the title company, but I don't have an attorney retained to go to the closing. I've never needed one in any of the other houses I've purchased or sold, so it never occurred to me to bring one.

Yeah, truth be told, I'm a little annoyed. We've known the closing was on the specified date since we made an offer on the house.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:17 PM on September 14, 2010

Response by poster: Also, if it matters, we're using USAA to manage the loan, appraisal, title search, and all the other little bits that go along with prepping to buy a house.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:22 PM on September 14, 2010

In that case, our jurisdictions are so different as to make my answer completely inapplicable. Sorry I can't answer your question.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:30 PM on September 14, 2010

Yeah, it really varies by place. In Los Angeles, every single time we've bought, my hubby and I have merely signed papers in our own home accompanied by a traveling notary. No lawyers, no realtors. The papers go back to the escrow people and it all gets tidied up. Our main point of contact is the mortgage broker. So yeah, I don't think you need your realtor, but that's just me.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:34 PM on September 14, 2010

Hubby and I just closed a couple months ago on our place in LA (San Fernando Valley). It worked out so that none of us ended up being there. We had signed all papers in advance with escrow, all title searches and extra clauses included. The most our agent did in this case was make the phone call to let us know we'd closed the minute she got word the loan had funded.
posted by arishaun at 12:43 PM on September 14, 2010

In CA, the title company person handled all the signing stuff and our realtor just wanted to know when we were done.

If she's done her job, there's no surprises at signing, you should be fine.
posted by Gucky at 12:49 PM on September 14, 2010

I'd be more than annoyed. Her job is to represent you in case there are any irregularities with the seller, the seller's agent, the bank, etc.

Presumably she intends to get paid for closing this deal? Honestly, if it were me, I'd say that no, it is not possible to change the closing date at this point, and yes, you expect her to be there.
posted by desuetude at 12:54 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

Everybody always thinks there won't be any problems at closing, and sometimes they're wrong. If she's blowing off your closing (a date she presumably knew about, right?) for a social event that she scheduled after the fact, I'd be sure to mention that fact in the online review of her services that you'll be writing.
posted by sageleaf at 1:02 PM on September 14, 2010

Tell her you cannot reschedule. Should she still want to be absent, ask her who will be on call should there be a problem at closing. It's unlikely she'll be needed there, but in case something does go wrong you need to have someone from her agency able to come immediately.
posted by jeather at 1:17 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Honestly, if it were me, I'd say that no, it is not possible to change the closing date at this point, and yes, you expect her to be there.

For the commission you are paying her (not the seller, really; the commission fee indirectly raises the market prices of homes) you have the right to ask her for her attendance.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:18 PM on September 14, 2010

We recently closed on a house (not in Texas) and after the closing, found out that an involved party had messed up (being intentionally vague here). I was really glad our realtor had been at the closing so we had another person to verify what had happened.

Closings often move a day or two here or there, so your realtor might not think it's a big deal. I wouldn't think it was a big deal to move the date either.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:23 PM on September 14, 2010

yup - Blazecock Pileon has it.
Ask her how much of her commission she's willing to forgo. This is her problem, not yours - and you should not have to sacrifice a whit just so she can go to a party!
posted by dbmcd at 1:43 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, she's losing points for not doing her job which she is being paid for, which is offering an alternative that doesn't inconvenience you (switching the date inconveniences you, her finding a suitable representative inconveniences her).

I hate to say this, because this isn't about being a hard-ass, but you're on the hook if anything goes wrong. Push her to do her job and be there, even if that's just to smile, make sure everything is accurate, and congratulate you. If not, ask her for an alternative representative, or to forgo some money.

Also consider that if she balks at this, it's part of whatever reference you ever give her, if it matters.
posted by anitanita at 2:09 PM on September 14, 2010

Don't change the date unless she's willing to compensate you for expenses you incur as a result of changing the date (she won't). She can designate someone who will be there or she can be there herself, but it has to be one or the other.

When buying a house you should realize that someone else's problems are not your problems and your problems are not someone else's problems (The fact that they need to sell at this price to break even does not mean that you are obligated to offer that price. The fact that you need 45 days to close escrow doesn't mean that they have to care). This definitely falls into the "her problem" side. Don't make it your problem and don't let someone make it your problem.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:24 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

I bought a new house, so I never had a realtor, at closing or at any other time. In Texas, through USAA. Really, I can't imagine what a realtor would do during closing -- I got the 50 lbs of paperwork ahead of time, read through it, found a few mistakes and had them correct them on closing day, did all the signing at the the title office.
posted by Houstonian at 3:53 PM on September 14, 2010

Every so often something weird does come up at closing, and it's the realtor's job to take care of it; that's part of what they're paid to do. They have (or should have) the experience to *know* what's weird and out of place, and they also should know the appropriate measures to take to resolve it. That's what they *do*. If a realtor is getting a commission on a sale, they damn well better be there at closing.
posted by galadriel at 7:59 AM on September 15, 2010

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