5 Closing Day Surprises and How to Avoid Them

Dated: 10/19/2018

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Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, there are certain closing day surprises that you need to avoid to ensure a smooth transaction.

Here are five closing day surprises that affect both buyers and sellers and how you can avoid them:

1. The final walkthrough (or what can happen if you don’t do a final walkthrough). As a buyer, you should be doing a final walkthrough of your future home a day or two before closing. During this process, you need to make sure everything’s clean, there aren’t any fixtures missing, none of the walls are damaged, etc. If there is any kind of damage or something is missing, you need to make sure you’re getting some kind of compensation from the seller.

As a seller, you’ll need to do a final walkthrough to make sure you’re not leaving anything behind. In most instances, if you do leave something behind, it’ll become the property of the buyer at the time of closing.

2. Not having everything signed and ready to close. This happens more often than you might think. You’ll obviously know if you haven’t signed something, but you should also know if the other party has signed everything. If they haven’t, is there a plan in place to make sure everything does get signed? Sometimes we can get so focused on what our responsibilities are that we assume that if we signed, the other party must’ve signed as well. That’s not always the case, and your agent will help you bring the transaction to a close in this instance.

  If you’re a buyer, don’t make any major purchases during the escrow process.

3. Loan issues. If you’re a buyer, don’t make any major purchases during the escrow process. Don’t take out another loan or pay off any debt either without first speaking to your lender. All of these things can impact your credit score, and that’s something they’ll check prior to closing.

4. Issues with title and escrow. Things can be moving along swimmingly until, somewhere near the end of the transaction, a title issue pops up. Perhaps a vendor who the seller hired to repair the roof filed a mechanic’s lien on the property to pay for that roof. Or maybe a boundary line dispute arose between a neighbor and the subject property. In any case, both parties should be flexible and be willing to work through these kinds of issues so that the property changes hands legally.

5. Property line issues. If you’re a buyer, always assume the fence is yours and that it’s your responsibility to maintain it. Oftentimes, buyers buy a home and expect their neighbors to go 50/50 with them on a new fence, or they’ll assume the fence belongs to the neighbor and they’re the ones who have to maintain it. This is a bit of a gray area. Could you pay to have a survey done to see who actually owns the fence? Yes, but most of the time, the survey costs more than the fence itself. What you can do instead is try talking to your neighbor and see if you can split the cost to some degree.

If you have any questions about any of these items or you have any other real estate needs I can take care of, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to talk to you.

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Gavin Shnieder

Gavin is a native of the Puget Sound, happily married to his wife Ryann for 10 years, and proud father of 3 perfect daughers Rylee, Jordan and Elliot. After serving in the Army as an Infantry Officer....

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