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August 29, 2011

Delays on the way to the settlement table

Sarah Parker was all set to close on the sale of her Timonium home at the end of May. Instead, she settled about 10 days later -- after a problem with the buyer's mortgage that almost upended the deal.

Marney Kirk, her real estate agent, says settlement delays are popping up frequently these days, often because the loan underwriter wants more information at a late date.

"Most settlements are not taking place on the day they were supposed to happen," said Kirk, with Keller Williams in Timonium.

The delays are usually for days rather than weeks, she said, and typically end with the deal closing after all. Just later than planned.

For Parker, it meant extra stress thrown into the mix of a cross-country move that came soon after she and her husband married.

"It started out very smoothly," said Parker, a high school teacher. Her Cape Cod had been on the market just four days before a buyer made an offer. 

"We had a closing date, everything went fine, and then last minute -- two days before we were supposed to close -- they told us we were not going to be able to close because there was a problem with the lender," she said. "Long story short, it was a divorce situation, they were trying to determine the verbiage between alimony and child support in terms of how much she could qualify for the loan. She was pre-qualified; this was what was so frustrating for us."

Parker actually put the house back on the market and had a few more showings -- not knowing if the $249,000 deal would collapse -- before the problem was finally resolved.

She and her husband moved to Florida, where they're now waiting to close on a short sale. Closing date, last we chatted: Aug. 30 -- tomorrow. Warp speed in short sale terms.

The four-bedroom house she's hoping to get for $285,000 was built in 2004, with a hot tub, an in-ground pool, a huge kitchen and a three-car garage. The sellers bought the place for $435,000 in 2006, she said.

She can't wait to get her things out of storage.

"It'll be like Christmas," she said.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Housing market experiences
        

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
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