Making a Catch — or a Closing “Save” — Look Easy
“Paul Blair never made a great catch because he never had to; he was always standing under the ball when it came down.”
–Earl Weaver, Baltimore Orioles manager; “Paul Blair, Center for Champions, Dies at 69.” The New York Times (12/27/2013).
How are great closers and great fielders alike?
They both make it look easy.
Operating well behind the scenes, real estate closers — who work for a title company (and ultimately, the home Buyer and Seller) — are the ones who clear the way for title to transfer at closing, anticipating (& fixing) technical, last-minute hurdles.
Issues like, what to do about a home equity line of credit (“HELOC”) on the home, with no evidence that the line of credit has been repaid and closed out.
Hard – Harder – Hardest Cases
In order of difficulty, here are the all-too-real scenarios:
Hard: There’s a HELOC-related lien, but the Seller has the loan number, bank contact, and evidence that the account has been closed and any balance satisfied.
Harder: The Seller has all above the above save the bank contact.
Hardest: The Seller is an estate with no info on the HELOC; the Bank is defunct, and the bank that bought the defunct bank’s assets has itself been acquired through a merger.
Amazingly, Lauren Stockert, an Edina Title closer who has closed dozens of deals for me, somehow managed to navigate that last situation — plus some additional hurdles — and close smoothly and on time for clients of mine last year.
What happens when the closer can’t get the lien removed before closing?
Usually, the closing happens anyways, but the title company must escrow a multiple of the HELOC until the proper documentation can be produced — or recreated.
So, if the HELOC was for $75k, the Seller would have to wait to receive $150k or even $225k of the sale proceeds.