Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Home for the Holidays

This is the second of my annual posts. It's another one that is often the same, although this year I might even being writing it a little earlier than usual. It's time to remind those who want to close out the year by finishing a move that we have arrived at the eleventh hour.

By the time a buyer makes an offer, gets it accepted, does his/her inspection, obtains a mortgage and insurance, and closes the property, it will be the end of December. And that's if nothing goes really wrong.

The buying process has always contained some amount of sturm und drang, and there may be a little back and forth negotiation after the inspection results, but it is the mortgage process where the time frames have drastically changed. People who have not financed or refinanced recently will be shocked at the current level of documentation required for getting a mortgage. Often, they even spend time arguing about whether something is necessary--not worth your time, if you try--and it may take some time to produce all that is needed. The appraisal process can also take longer, especially since the low rates mean that there is a great deal of refinancing work being done at the banks now.

Even insurance is more complicated than it used to be. I remember the days when you could call on the day of the closing and get a binder. No more. Flood insurance in particular seems to slow up some transactions, where it is required.

The final point to keep in mind is that the holiday season is often a vacation time and/or a busy time for attorneys. Buyers have to plan ahead a little more to get things closed at the very end of the year.

There's my annual warning, so now it's time to get going!