Unexpected Issues That Can Delay Your Closing
Too often, a buyer and seller schedule time at the title company, ready to close on the sale of a home, only to discover that an unresolved problem has been hiding in the shadows. As a result, the closing has to be postponed until those problems are resolved. Delays like this can cause a chain reaction of chaos when you have to reschedule movers and make other schedule adjustments for both the buyer and the seller.
The best way to avoid this is to find those issues as early as possible and get them resolved. If any of the following apply to you and you are selling a home, let your title agent know what’s going on so they can recommend a solution. There’s a good chance, if your title company has been in business for a while, that they’ve dealt with your type of issue before and may know exactly what to do.
You’re Divorced and Your Ex-Spouse is Still Part Owner of the House
Hopefully, you and your spouse parted amicably because, depending on the circumstances, they may need to attend the closing and sign some papers. And depending on what is in the divorce decree, they may be entitled to a portion of the proceeds. If, however, your ex-spouse is not willing to cooperate, there are legal remedies you can turn to, but you need to let your title company know as soon as possible what’s going on. Again, they will likely know what to do, but it may take some time so don’t delay in calling them.
There is a Lien, or Liens, On Your House
Certain types of debt related to your ownership in a home can result in a lien being placed on it if you don’t pay back the debt. For example, if you do a major renovation on the house or replace the roof and you owe the contractor money, they have a right to put a lien on your house. Similarly, if you borrow money from a bank and use equity in the house as collateral then default on the loan, they might also place a lien on the house. This lien basically ensures that, should you sell the house, they’ll be paid from the proceeds of the sale. Dealing with a lien is usually a simple, straightforward process. That said, problems can come up, such as when the title company can’t track down the lien holder. Or, you actually paid the debt, but the company never got around to releasing the lien. Fixing these issues can take some time and may cause delays if you don’t find out until late in the process.
You’re In a Boundary Dispute With a Neighbor, HOA, or Municipal Government
It’s possible for the owner of any property adjacent to yours to claim that part of your property is actually theirs when there are conflicting surveys. That would most likely be a neighbor, but it could also be a municipality or a homeowner’s association. This is another issue that can potentially delay your closing until it’s resolved. It may even require retaining a real estate attorney, depending on the circumstances. The sooner you start addressing it, however, the sooner you can resolve the dispute and close on the sale of the home.
You Have an Unresolved Bankruptcy
Depending on the type a bankruptcy and the terms attached to it, you may have to resolve it before you can close on the sale of a house. It may even be necessary to petition the court, requesting a release of the property from the bankruptcy before the sale can close. An experienced title agent should know exactly what to do or at least how to get started on the process of resolving this issue.