“Is it common for these kinds of delays to occur in a home purchase?” I field this question…or some variation of it…nearly once a day, and I can see why. No, it’s not because all of the transactions in which I’m involved turn sour, chuckle chuckle. There are a variety of reasons, but they revolve around the fact that the real estate transaction is not lead by one conductor. Conductors lead trains, and they either get to their destination at the end of the day, or they don’t. Pass or fail. Real estate transactions are more like an Indy 500 race. I’ve never actually watched an entire Indy 500 race, but I believe I know the premise, so let me explain my analogy.
Generally speaking, with the right driver (your Realtor, me) and the right pit crew (the other players in your home purchase), you will get to the finish line. But I realize that wasn’t your question. Your question was, “Why does it take so long to get to the finish line and how do we prevent delays from occurring?” First, remember how many independent parties are involved in the sale of real estate: at least two Realtors, at least one Buyer and one Seller (good luck if that Seller is a bank or a divorced couple now living in two different states), at least one lender (two lenders if the Seller has a mortgage on the property), a title company, an attorney (depending on the state where your transaction is taking place), the County Recorder’s Office, the Federal Reserve (if wire transfers will be sent, which they usually are), a home inspection company, a pest inspection company, and I could go on like this almost all day. With that many people controlling the outcome of your real estate experience, delays and surprises are inevitable. It is best to accept that fact before engaging in a home sale or purchase, and hire an experienced, full-time Realtor who knows how to change a tire and refill the gas tank (metaphorically speaking).
Title companies will make typographical errors, loan officers will accidentally input your income incorrectly into their computers, and the Federal Reserve may hold up a wire transfer until the following business day. As your Realtor, I cannot prevent these things. No one can. What I can do and what I will do is review every document that is presented to you during the transaction and have any errors I spot corrected as quickly as possible. I will also stay in regular communication with your loan officer to ensure he is progressing at the pace he needs to in order for you to close escrow on time. If he is not, I will point this out to you, so we can address it together. Lastly, well, there’s nothing I can do if the Federal Reserve takes an extra day to deliver your wire transfer. Sorry, that’s the government we’re talking about. However…at the beginning of the transaction, I will recommend to you that you order your wire transfer at least two to three business days prior to the scheduled Close of Escrow date.
In real estate, like in life, expect the unexpected, and you will not be surprised. Oh yea, and if the title company and your loan officer each make an error on the same day, try not to think the worst of them. They are probably not in cahoots to sabotage your deal.