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6 Problems That Can Delay the Closing Process

Closing is the last hurdle you’ll have to jump before you officially become a homeowner. Signing off on the paperwork typically takes some time but just getting to the closing table can take much longer. There are plenty of snags you can hit along the way that could push back your closing date. Here are some of the most common problems that can hold up the process.

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1. There’s an Issue With the Title

At some point prior to closing, you’ll have to do (or hire someone to do) a title search on the home you’re buying. This ensures that the title is clear of any issues that could prevent you from taking ownership of the property. If the title search uncovers a lien on the property or someone other than the listed owner is laying claim to the home, you could wait weeks or even months for the issue to get sorted out.

2. The Inspection Uncovers a Serious Flaw

6 Problems That Can Delay the Closing Process

Once you’ve entered into a contract on a home, you’re responsible for having it checked to ensure there are no major problems. That includes getting a home inspection and a pest inspection. If the inspection shows that there’s something wrong, like cracks in the foundation or a termite infestation, the closing could be postponed while you work out the issue.

3. The Appraisal Is Too Low

Before you can buy a home, a bank will need to confirm whether the home is worth its estimated value. If the appraisal reveals that the home value is lower than the loan amount, you’d need to get a second appraisal or negotiate a reduced purchase price with the seller. Both of these actions could delay the closing.

Related Article: Understanding the Home Appraisal Process

4. There’s a Problem on the Seller’s End

Sometimes the issue has nothing to do with the home itself. If you’ve got a seller who’s in the process of buying a new home or building one, for example, it’s possible that they could ask you to change the closing timeline to accommodate their moving date. You could also experience delays if there’s more than one seller involved and they’re having trouble coordinating their schedules.

5. Your Mortgage Financing Falls Through

6 Problems That Can Delay the Closing Process

A mortgage isn’t locked down until you sign the paperwork. Even if you’ve been pre-approved, there’s no guarantee that the bank is going to hand over the money. If something comes up during the underwriting process, such as a major change to your credit score or income, the lender could decide to renege on the deal. If that happens, you’ll have to look elsewhere for a loan.

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6. You Found a Problem During the Walk-Through

The walk-through is one of the last steps you’ll take before you close on a home. Generally, what happens is that you visit the home with your real estate agent and take a good look around to see if there are any problems. If you see damage that wasn’t there before, you’ll need to figure out how to deal with it before the closing can take place.

The Takeaway

Any number of issues can cause your closing to go wrong and even something small can turn into a lengthy delay. Being prepared for the worst can help you weather the storm if an issue does pop up.

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Rebecca Lake Rebecca Lake is a retirement, investing and estate planning expert who has been writing about personal finance for a decade. Her expertise in the finance niche also extends to home buying, credit cards, banking and small business. She's worked directly with several major financial and insurance brands, including Citibank, Discover and AIG and her writing has appeared online at U.S. News and World Report, and Investopedia. Rebecca is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and she also attended Charleston Southern University as a graduate student. Originally from central Virginia, she now lives on the North Carolina coast along with her two children.
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