July 22, 2021

Real estate settlements are a delicate balance of gathering information, verifying funds, communicating, and organizing documents. Today’s consumers are savvy and are looking for clear and concise updates. Real estate agents have the challenge of keeping multiple parties in the loop and ensuring that closing is not delayed due to unfinished tasks or confusion. It’s a tall order, but closings can stay on an efficient timeline with the right tools and a strong understanding of the process.

What is a real estate closing?

It’s the end of the home purchase and sale journey. Closing happens when all of the conditions and contingencies of the written sales contract have been met. This includes, obtaining financing, reviewing home inspections, and having title professionals research and confirm the property can be sold without legal issues. Finally, funds are verified to go from the purchaser to the seller of the home.

Who is involved?

There are numerous participants in a real estate transaction. In addition to the housing consumers and agents, there are service providers to perform various closing tasks. Some of them may be state-required, involved as part of the typical local custom, or requested by the purchaser or seller of the home for added diligence or best practices. Once a contract is ratified, or both parties agree to terms, the contract travels to many different vendors for review and management. Ratification is where things can get tricky! Each transaction may require a slightly different team to settle.

This team will be made up of individuals that work for different companies and possibly even working from other states and time zones! Commonly involved team members in a real estate settlement are real estate agents, attorneys, escrow agents, mortgage lenders, appraisers, home inspectors, title agents and examiners, surveyors, home insurance agents, repair contractors and services, home warranty providers, notary services, and even professional moving companies.

Room for Error?

With this many participants involved, things can become confusing quickly for consumers. Consumers may have anxiety that their contract is not getting the attention it deserves, and unfortunately, this can be a common factor that leads to closing delays and real or perceived bad closing experiences. Communication via phone, email, text messages, social media messages, and even courier services can leave parts of the transaction in several locations and various states of completion. Have you ever opened a text message and didn’t reply because you were distracted? Emails can have the same fate. Specific markets across the country are breaking post-pandemic records and selling more homes than they have in several years.

Communication Improvement Suggestions

What can a consumer do to help improve communication? Ask for a central location to be created for all communications about their transaction. Consumers and real estate agents can request confirmation receipts and verification in writing that timelines are updated and tasks are completed. Numerous vague updates over the phone or group emails can be tedious to follow and create unnecessary confusion.

Try syncing calendars, setting up a regular weekly check-in with your real estate agent, and taking careful notes about the progress being made on your transaction. Lastly, it’s essential to ensure that your real estate agent and the vendors handle your contact information while keeping internet security top of mind. Many wire fraud scams and other types of personal information scams can make your settlement vulnerable to cybercrime.

Transparency and Outcomes

Real estate agents know that selling and purchasing a home can be one of the most significant financial transactions they will have to manage for many consumers. Providing transparency and major milestone updates is not only an innovative business, but it also reduces liability. Some agents, attorneys and escrow agents, maintain complicated spreadsheets that require manual oversight and data input. Do not be afraid to ask for updates from the central players in the transaction. Financing can create several delays that the real estate agent may not have control over.

For example, if your purchasing area has a shortage of appraisers, your appraisal report may take longer to obtain. Other outcomes that may cause delays in your transaction include: Title research backed up or inconclusive, judgements attached to the lien that need to be cleared, estate or legal disputes, surveyed property lines that show unexpected irregularities, agreed contract repairs were not inspected or completed before the agreed closing date, sellers are not prepared to move, property damage occurs, or failed oil tank inspections that require remediation.

Preparing for Closing Day

Forty-eight hours before closing, make sure to check in with your team to see if there are any incomplete or special requirements or tasks that will need to happen before closing. In some cases, consumers will need to bring cashier checks or to set up a separate wire for funds transfers. It is also essential to coordinate a final walk-through of the property to ensure that repairs are finished and that no last-minute property damage has occurred. During the walk-through, ensure that all seller items are removed and that the property is secure. Consider setting up an appointment with a local locksmith to change the locks immediately after closing, as there is no way to determine who in public the seller gave extra keys.

Wrapping Up

While there are many things that you cannot plan for in a real estate settlement journey, one thing you can count on is taking measures to research the process carefully. Asking for transparency, verified timelines, and understanding potential delays in advance will help you better plan for keeping your move on track.

Limited inventory of residential property and even rentals can create additional stress for consumers, and choosing to work with professionals who make communication a top priority is not an unreasonable request. Consumers and real estate agents should never hesitate to ask for updates and clarification. The pros at Reti360 specialize in bringing all participants of the real estate closing journey together to collaborate for the smoothest outcome possible. Learn more at reti360.com.

Reti360 web and mobile app, offers real-time status updates, including automated notifications of completed and overdue requirements and workspace chat messaging for individual updates specific to your transaction. You’ll know when your closing team of agents and professional service providers deliver required documents so that you can rest assured that your closing is proceeding on schedule.

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