Avoiding Real Estate Closing and Escrow Problems

There is no better feeling than when your client falls in love with a property that you have presented to them. However, matching up available properties with a client’s wish list is only the beginning. Once the client’s home has been selected, and a preliminary price has been agreed upon, there is a specific process to be followed before the keys can be handed over. Of course if this progression is not followed, the end result could be a delayed closing or a botched transaction; neither being desirable. Here’s how to avoid these types of headaches.

As the agent it’s your job to ensure that this procedure is properly followed and to also pay attention to detail, so as to bring about a smooth closing. Likewise, it’s helps if you’re familiar with the common real estate escrow and closing problems and also know how to avoid them.

Vague Closing Costs – No one likes surprises when making major life purchases, such as a new home. In fact, even when all goes as planned closings can still be highly stressful. The good news, however, is that having a clear understanding of your client’s purchase agreement and closing costs can help you prevent undue stress and misunderstandings.

Closing costs typically run from three to five percent of the loan amount, and the party liable to pay these costs should be clearly outlined on both the purchase agreement and the final closing statement. Additionally, all costs should be clearly spelled out at closing.

Escrow Issues – If you fail to confirm that the buyer has held their funds in an escrow account prior to closing, you and your client could quickly find yourself in an untenable situation. In fact, even in the best case scenario this could give your clients enough of a scare for them to give you unfavorable reviews. So always confirm funds or have your title company do it–before it’s too late.

Also, remember that even after you’ve confirmed that the allotted funds are in escrow your job is not done. At the closing, you or the title company will still have to reconcile the escrow account afterwards to make sure that the proper parties have been paid and that the escrow account shows a zero balance. Otherwise, this could spell trouble for you or whoever is handling the escrow.

Other Involved Parties – Another point to keep in mind is that it’s not only real estate agents or lenders who can cause a closing to be delayed but any number of actors – including your clients, the escrow agency, appraiser, closing attorneys or etc. However, the good news is that as the real estate agent you should typically have access to most or all of the parties involved, which means you do have the ability to reach out and confirm that all matters have been tended to prior to the closing.

Nonetheless, as an agent there are some circumstances that you just won’t have control over. So the next best thing is to make sure that the processes that do fall under your purvey are managed properly.

Additional Considerations – Case in point; sales contracts. Iron clad contracts can mean the difference between an issue-free closing and unresolved escrow issues that delay or prevent the closing from taking place. You can prevent this from happening just by paying attention to detail and including the proper provisions in the contract.

A great example would be including a provision that required the buyer to provide proof of funds to cover not only the down payment but any costs associated with closing. Failing to include this can result in unpleasant surprises at the closing table.

As you prepare your clients for the process of home ownership and closing on the property of their dreams, there are many items to explain and manage along the way. As you approach closing, keep the points mentioned in mind, remain open to questions, and you’ll be well on your way to providing your clients with a wonderful closing experience.