Coordination between the parties in the real estate closing process is vital to the transaction moving toward a timely and efficient conclusion. The lenders and closing attorneys may control the process, but the Realtor® is often the “glue” that holds the transaction together. So, what can the Realtor® do to work with the closing attorney and help make the closing process move smoothly and efficiently? Here are my five suggestions from my experience closing thousands of transactions:
by Michael Krone, ESQ.
1. Stop Closing Everything on the Last Day of the Month.
When preparing your offers, pick different days of the month. Allowing the closing attorneys to spread out the purchase closings throughout the month will result in a better closing experience for everyone involved. As an industry, we close 70% of our transactions in the last few days of the month. This makes for a hurried and confusing experience for buyers and sellers. More importantly, having so many closings during the same few days results in more errors and problems. From a mere convenience standpoint, closing so many transactions at once causes uncomfortable situations at the Registries of Deeds and delays in recordings and the transfer of keys.
Communication with the closing attorney’s office is essential. By staying in touch, you can work with the closing attorney’s staff to resolve matters before they become problems. As a Realtor® you have vital information and knowledge that the closing attorney needs. Make sure they know who you are and the role you are playing in the transaction early on. Provide them with your agency information, brokerage commission, and fees that they are required to include on the closing disclosure. Let them know immediately if any issues arise that could impact the closing. Be sure that meter readings, oil readings, and smoke detector certificates are passed on to the closing attorney in a timely fashion.
3. Get Them a Copy of the Purchase and Sale Agreement.
If the buyer is not being represented by the closing attorney, you need to provide the attorney with a copy of the Purchase and Sale Agreement (P&S) as soon as you know who is closing the transaction. Many closings have been delayed because agents have not provided the requested P&S to the closing attorney in a timely fashion, even after being requested to do so. The information on the P&S is vital to begin title work and for communication between the parties.
4. Prepare Extensions.
If the parties need to extend the closing, don’t wait for someone else to do it; prepare the extension and circulate it for signatures. As a Realtor® you know the parties best and you have their trust. Closing attorneys that are not representing the buyers are not responsible for preparing such extensions, so your assistance is essential in those instances. Don’t assume someone else in the transaction is obtaining the necessary extensions. Calendar the important dates and stay in touch with the closing attorney to determine if the closing date needs to be changed and provide your input as to what dates may work best for the parties involved.
Don’t be a bystander in your own transaction. Work with the closing attorney. If title issues pop up, assist in resolving them in whatever way you can and help obtain information they might need. Set expectations with your clients appropriately so delays don’t come as a complete surprise to them. You should be as accommodating as possible. The old attitude of “that’s not my role” is a thing of the past. Today’s best Realtors® are involved from start to finish in the closing process. Realtors® are assets in the closing process to everyone involved in the transaction. Your efforts in assisting the closing attorney are essential elements of your professionalism and they provide your clients with a better closing experience. Because sometimes the simplest efforts can make all the difference.
Michael Krone is Executive Vice President of Universal Capital – a private lender serving all New England states. Mike is a graduate of Boston University and New England Law School. He has practiced real estate law for over 35 years and is a popular real estate containing education instructor. Mike can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org