Buyers and sellers are often under the impression that the purchase date in a real estate purchase contract is the actual closing date. 

This is possible, but it is wise to prepare for the unexpected. There are many issues that could cause a delay in the closing date. 

An unrealistic contract date

A common reason for a real estate closing delay is that the buyer and seller agreed to an unrealistic date to begin with. Depending on the type of financing the buyer uses, a closing will normally take 45 to 60 days following acceptance of an offer to purchase. 

The clean title transfer

The property must transfer from seller to buyer with a clean title; that is, with no previous liens against the property. Most title issues will resolve with the assistance of an attorney who monitors the various steps that occur throughout the life of the real estate transaction. 

An instrument survey issue

An instrument survey is a drawing of the land upon which the home rests. A boundary line or encroachment dispute between neighbors might cause a survey issue and the parties involved may have to sign an affidavit to confirm their understanding of the dispute. 

A request for more documents

It is not uncommon for the bank that will commit to the mortgage to request additional time for one last review of the buyer’s credit information. This can happen just before the scheduled closing and cause a delay. 

A final walk-through problem

The last event before closing is the final walk-through. Unless the property is in “broom-clean condition” with all repairs completed and all appliances and utilities functioning, the scheduled closing could come to a halt until the seller rectifies the problems.