Home Selling in Haledon>Question Details

Jnic, Home Seller in Haledon, NJ

Can a buyer force a seller to move up a closing date?

Asked by Jnic, Haledon, NJ Tue Dec 29, 2009

My grandparents are selling their home and signed a contract, contingent on the buyers getting a mortgage. The buyers apparently got approved on Dec. 11th but did not inform my grandparent's agent until Dec. 28th. The original closing date was "on or before Jan. 30th." Now the buyer is worried she will lose her job due to a high risk pregnancy and wants to move the closing up to insure her mortgage isn't taken away if she loses her job. They claim if my grandparents don't agree to move the date up they can sue them. Is this the case?

Help the community by answering this question:


No. The buyer cannot "force" a homeowner to close. They can't "sue them" they have a legitimate contract with a date. Period.

But, after reading your situation.. I would close it ASAP! Tell your grandparents to get rid of the property to these people or at very least, they can close on the sale and ask for a "Use and Occupancy" to quell their fears of not getting a mortgage and stay until the end of the month.. Now that, of course is if your attorney can work that out for you.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009

John Sacktig is correct. Both parties have to agree to the closing date...period...whether it is before the contractually specified date (which says "on or before") or sometimes even a few days after the date. The date is an approximation based on too many factors that can affect the date to go into here.

it is probably in your grandparent best interest to close as soon as possible if for nothing else than it may be hard to find another buyer. Worst case, as John pointed out, if your garndparents cannot get out sooner, they can always ask for a "use and occupancy" agreement, which will have to be drawn up by the attorneys. They cannot however be sued for not agreeing to a date earlier than the one specified in the contract.

Best of luck with the situation and hopefully your grandpparents will have something to really celebrate come the New Year.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
I am not an attorney, but my understanding is that a closing date is an approximation for when title will transfer. That being said, it is a flexible date. However, in order to change it from the original contract, both parties have to agree on the new date.

Two things: I find it hard to believe that any pregnant woman will "lose her job" due to a high risk pregnancy. The NJ family act protects both women and men from losing their job due to the birth of a child. But, if I am wrong about this, and she can/does lose her job, it could put the mortgage in jeopardy. It is typical for a lender to pull a credit report only days before a closing. If they issued a commitment based on 2 salaries and then there is only one, they could cancel the commitment.

Check with your attorney on this one, but I believe the Family Law Act should protect the woman; thereby making it unnecessary to close sooner than agreed upon.

The buyers do not have a legal reason to sue your grandparents if they do not decide to move up the closing date.
Web Reference: http://www.dianeglander.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
Probably cannot sue them but if your grandparents can close sooner and avoid the risk of losing the sale, I would advise them to find temporary housing and just close.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 4, 2010

Technically, all it takes to file a lawsuit is to find one attorney hungry enough (or greedy enough) to help out; I doubt there would be much merit in the potential lawsuit you described--though I am not an attorney so the usual caveat about not giving legal advice applies.

It sounds like you have very scared buyers who could potentially lose their deposits on top of not being able to close on the home. Your grandparents have an important decision to make: would they prefer potentially have to re-sell their home to another buyer or would they rather create a win-win situation?

Based on the details I have read, I would suggest that your grandparents close early and rent back their former home from the new owners for a nominal sum (perhaps $10 per day) until the original closing date of January 30. This would permit your grandparents to stick to their original timetable while allowing the buyers to close on the home with both jobs in place--keeping the bank satisfied. Usually, a buyer can move into the new home up to 60 days after closing without running into problems with the bank.

I hope the realtors and attorneys involved have already made helpful suggestions. If everyone stays calm, this sounds like a challenge that can be managed to a positive outcome!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009

A closing date is an approximate date to close. Both parties must agree on changing the closing date. I don't think your grandparents cannot be forced or sued to move up the closing date but they should check with their attorney for sure as I am not an attorney nor am I giving legal advice.

I, having 3 high risk pregnancies are familiar with the family medical leave act and NJ disability. Now, by law her company may not be able to fire her because she's pregnant, however there may be a decrease in her pay. A high risk pregnancy wouldn't be eligible for the family medical leave, even if it did, you don't get paid during that time. If she must go on disability whether through her company or through the State of NJ, her income may be effected and decreased thus leadiing to the denial of the mortgage commitment. When you say she was "approved on December 11th". Are you referring to her mortgage commitment from the bank? If so, then a decrease in pay may not be an issue although I have seen commitments that were still subject to other provisions and if she needed to show a paystub closer to the January 30th date and could not because she was out of work on disability, the mortgage company could deny the lending.

When we bought our second house, I was on maternity leave, getting paid disability through the State of NJ, and our lender couldn't count that as income for me. It wasn't a job. That was seven years ago but I know I wasn't considered employed or was my income (i.e., state disability for maternity leave, even considered.

With all that being said, is it a big deal to close earlier for your grandparents? If it is what I'm saying about the decrease in income and the mortgage company fails to provide the mortgage, your grandparents are back at square one again and need to find a buyer, etc.

Make sure that they speak to their attorney about this as well.

Good luck to your grandparents in selling their home.

Gina Chirico, Sales Associate
Prudential NJ Properties
973-715-1158 cell
973-992-6363 ext 116 office
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
I always say... Everything is negotiable... Both parties have to agree when to close...

Realtors are hired to negotiate and either party can walk away from the sale with legitimate reasons. The buyer cannot sue under these circumstances but can walk away and be sued for their earnest money and more. If she doesn't qualify, by the time they close she can walk away without being sued. I would recommend trying to work things out so that it is good for both parties.

Web Reference: http://www.loveyfrazier.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
Hello Jnic,
I would think it would be at your grand parents best interest to close asap. If this falls tru, they might not find a buyer sooner. Have your grand parents' attorney to negotiate the terms to close sooner . i/e Your grand parents could stay in the house for a determine time paying or not paying. Its all negotiable. Again, if the buyer is ready to close, just close!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
If the mortgage commitment is in and all is ready to go--and if the buyer is telling you she may not have a job or will be out of work due to maternity leave or whatever, it's in your best interest to close asap--there is a chance that if the 2 incomes (assuming 2 incomes here) were needed to begin in order to qualify that the bank may reject them should she be out of work--what is your attorney or loan officer advising you to do--follow their advice.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
I would consult your attorney as I am not one. However, to the best of my knowledge, a buyer cannot force a seller to change the initial terms of the contract that were already agreed upon. They can always ask to change, but then both sides would have to agree. It is my understanding that a seller can be sued for performance if they are in default. But it would appear that is not the case here. You really should consult an attorney though for the best and most accurate advice. hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
You should obviously speak to an attorney about this, but the buyer cannot "force" an earlier date on your grandparents.

They can "offer" your grandparents to close early and live in the home rent free for the month, or your grandparents can suggest that as a compromise.

They should also speak to their attorney about the legality of not disclosing this information to their lender.

I hope this was helpful.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer