The Closing Date – what does on/about mean?

The greatest source of frustration for any buyer or seller is this nefarious on/about closing date that is imputed into the contract.  What is that about?  You buy a house in CT and you are closing on THE date set in the contract, no ifs, ands or buts.  You will have to be in the hospital bleeding from every orifice of your body, missing limbs before they will reschedule that date (and even then I don’t know if they will).  In NY, you will get raised eyebrows from attorneys, and piteous expressions from agents if you expect to actually close on the date in the contract.    The closing date in our market should not be regarded as a closing date, not really.  It isn’t a closing date.  It’s the initiation of a period of time spanning 30 days during which you will close.  So I call it a closing window.  Many buyers and sellers are frustrated because it’s very difficult to make plans without knowing which day they will really be closing.  My advice?  Plan for the last day of the window.  If you have to give your landlord 30 days notice and your closing date is March 1, tell them March will be your last month.  Many buyers scramble to try to move and close on the same day.  How stressful is that?  Don’t do that unless absolutely necessary.  Here’s a little secret: your first month’s mortgage payment will not be due until the month after you close.  That’s right, you get one month free.  Well, not really free…you pay one month in arrears as part of your closing costs.  But at least you planned for that and it has already been factored into the closing costs.

If you close on time and have to stay an extra month in your rental, you will not be saddled by simultaneous payments of both mortgage and rent, which should offer a degree of relief.  There will likely be updates you want to make to any home you buy, even those that are turn key.  Perhaps those wood floors need refinishing, or maybe you want to replace the carpet, repaint, etc.  If you close prior to occupancy you can use the time to get whatever you want done before you move in.  After all, it’s much harder to do such work when all your furniture is moved in.


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