Closing Date: Fixed, or Flexible?

It’s almost guaranteed that at some point in every real estate transaction, at least one of the parties will want to change the closing date.

Can they?

A real estate purchase agreement is ultimately just a type of contract, and anything the two parties agree to change, can be.

But therein lies the rub.

If the Buyer is planning a major renovation, and has lined up a series of contractors immediately after closing . . . they’re probably not going to be thrilled about pushing back the closing.

And contractually, they don’t have to.

Ditto if the Buyer’s moving van is arriving from out-of-state on a particular date, and is expecting to pull up to an empty house that the Buyer in fact owns.

Sugar to Make the Medicine Go Down

Sometimes, financial or other inducements can persuade an otherwise reluctant Buyer or Seller to change the closing date.

So, in one deal where I was the Buyer’s Agent, my client agreed to push back the closing date once the Seller agreed to pick up the fee to extend my client’s loan commitment (like milk, loan commitments have a shelf life; typically, they expire within a few days of the original closing date).

But a Buyer or Seller should never assume that the other party will agree to a change — and therefore, it goes without saying, pick the date carefully.

So what’s the best indicator of whether a new closing date is in the cards?

If the closing date was a key, intensely contested term in the original negotiation, both parties should expect to honor it.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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