Home Buying in Seattle>Question Details

Lookingatsea…, Other/Just Looking in Seattle, WA

Is it common for homes to close sooner than the agreed-upon date?

Asked by Lookingatseattle, Seattle, WA Thu May 16, 2013

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Ray Akers’ answer
Yes, sales frequently close ahead of the agreed upon closing date. The closing date isn't magical. It's just an approximate date for closing chosen by the buyer and the seller. Sometimes, a transaction is finalized ahead of schedule ---loan approval, etc. If both parties agree, then the closing date may be changed. Some sellers are happy to close early and buyers are often anxious to close as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
This is a pet peeve of mine, but since at least two agents have mentioned it . . ..

A contract should never say: "On June 30 or sooner." It should say: "On June 30 are sooner, as mutually agreed." If it just says "or sooner" then the buyer is agreeing to something that they probably cannot do, whereas the seller could probably close at virtually any point in time. If a seller gets a better offer with an "or sooner" offer they could demand to close in two days and then kill the existing deal when the buyer cannot perform to what they agreed to.

The buyer could argue that "as mutually agreed" was implicit, and that might possibly win, but I think it's better to be explicit and avoid these types of arguments entirely.

Note: This post is not legal advice. To obtain legal advice a party would need to contact an attorney directly and have that attorney review their specific situation and advise them of the risks of a course of conduct.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 17, 2013
One other point on "or sooner." Assuming that the parties do get involved in litigation over the use of "or sooner" the agent who drafted that language will probably also be a party to the lawsuit, as will be their firm, and possibly both agents/firms.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 17, 2013
Kary, excellent point.
Gulty as charged!
How magical the right words are in the right places.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 17, 2013
So in Seattle it is not uncommon. Your contract will tell you the closing date and it could be a definitive date (like June 5, 2013) or it could say, June 5th or sooner. Both parties need to
agree on the closing date so you do not need to worry that the closing date can move forward
or be delayed without your consent.
So, here it the other thing. The escrow company must adhere to to the contract exactly. They can close on the date in the contract but if the contract says; 'on or before', then they have the ability to close when all parties are ready.
Enjoy your new home!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
I depends a lot on the lender. If the loan can be done quickly (which may depend on the time the appraisal takes), then it can close early if both sides agree. I would say it could happen in over half the transactions, but it happens less frequently than that because one or both sides don't want to close early.

There are some lenders where they always seem to take longer than agreed!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
No -- it is not common -- but it happens once in a very great while. Homes almost always close on the agreed-upon Closing Date, and the buyer gets possession on the agreed-upon Possession date. Give me more details about what is happening in your transaction, and I can give you a more specific answer. I would be happy to research your particular situation for you. Mary
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
It is not common in today's market. Typical closing is 30 to 45 days if the purchase money is financed. If it is longer than that typically the sellers will not accept the offer upfront.

I guess you are selling a house and want to close it early for some reason. Unfortunately, if the closing day is reasonably within 30-45 days, the transaction is not likely to close early. Sorry~~~

Find more selling tips, go to
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
It just truly depends on what the terms of your contact were. Here in California we sometimes use the phrasing 45 days OR sooner. This will allow the closing to take place earlier if it is possible to do so. Many times this has happened. If the property is in good enough shape and nothing to seriously note regarding repairs or damage then there is no real reason for the property to remain in escrow unless title has something that needs to be cleared up.

So all in all it is common and sometimes it is a good thing to help the new home owners to get in the property sooner.

Michael Litchenberg
DRE# 01758814
(559) 472-5120
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
I've had it happen more than once. It depends on the complexity of the transaction.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
definitley ...many contracts these days in seattle are being written with " to close on xx date or sooner "
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 16, 2013
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