HELP! Our House Didn’t Close on the Closing Date!

HELP!  I Just Got the Call that Our House Won’t Be Closing on the Closing Date!

So, you put your house on the market and got a buyer for it.  You’ve been patiently waiting through the inspection process and the financing process and now you’re down to the date of closing

And then you get THE CALL.

What call?  That awful call from your realtor saying that they just heard that there is a glitch and you won’t be closing on the scheduled closing date!

Shocked By a Delayed House Closing?

What should you do?  What should you think?

First of all, STOP and take a deep breath.  Most likely there is an explanation that will require listening and patience on your part.  It’s better to be as level-headed as possible when dealing with this.

Here are 3 questions to ask:

  1. Determine whether or not the Buyer would still like to purchase your property.  This is critical in figuring out how to proceed.  If the Buyer is still onboard and there is a lending glitch, then there is still a chance that selling your house to this Buyer will work.  If the Buyer has gotten a case of cold feet, then it’s up to you to decide whether or not you will let them out of the contract.
  2. If the Buyer DOES still want to purchase your property, then find out if their loan has been declined.  Ask your realtor.  If they don’t know, then ask them to call the lender and find out.  If they will not do it, then get the lender’s information from your realtor and make the call yourself.  If you find out that their loan HAS been declined, then try and persuade the Buyer (through the appropriate channels of your realtor to their realtor to the Buyer) to go with another lender.  Most realtors know lenders in the business who can get the job done.  Have a discussion with your realtor about who they know that could handle this.  If the Buyer decides to switch to another lender, then be prepared to wait another two-three weeks.  If the current lender is dragging his feet, then try and find out what the hold-up is and offer to help resolve it.
  3. How long should you give the Buyer to perform on the contract?  This is an important question to ask your realtor.  They have been through this before and can advise you.  The true answer to this question usually reveals itself during the “waiting” period.  During this time, everyone feels stressed out from the uncertainty.  There will be a point for each party in the transaction where they simply cannot wait any longer for an answer and must move on.

I would strongly encourage any Seller out there right now to put in a “48-hour kickout clause” with any purchase and sale agreement where there is a sale of home contingency.  In other words, if your contracted Buyer has another property which must sell in order for them to be able to purchase your property, then there should be some verbage in your agreement stating that if another acceptable Buyer comes along and offers to purchase your house WITHOUT needing to sell another property, then you may switch to that Buyer if the first Buyer cannot buy your house within the next 48 hours.  This clause protects you and keeps your options open to the best possibilities.

In conclusion, when you find that your house won’t be closing on the scheduled closing date, don’t panic!  There is always an explanation.  In this market, 4 out of my last 6 closings did not occur on their scheduled closing date.  Banks are under-staffed right now and tend to leave things until the last minute.  In that 11th hour, a lot can go wrong as a result.  Stay level-headed and work with your realtor to find the right solution for you!


If you are interested in selling or finding a home in Green Hills, Downtown, 12th South, or Oak Hill area of Nashville, or would like to look at other real estate for sale in the Middle Tennessee area, please search the MLS HERE.  Please note:  You will have to register with my site to be able to search the MLS.  I will contact you initially and all requests thereafter for privacy will be respected.

Looking to move?  Wanting to Invest?  Need help as a First Time Buyer?  Please feel free to call me, Emily Lowe (yes, I’m a Realtor, with The Lipman Group Sotheby’s International Realty) at 615.509.1753