Native Nashville Homes: Real Estate Talk from the Comfort of My Laptop: HELP! Our House Didn't Close on the Closing Date!

HELP! Our House Didn't Close on the Closing Date!

HELP!  I Just Got the Call that Our House Won't Be Closing on the Closing Date!

So, you put your house on the market and got a buyer for it.  You've been patiently waiting through the inspection process and the financing process and now you're down to the date of closing

And then you get THE CALL.

What call?  That awful call from your realtor saying that they just heard that there is a glitch and you won't be closing on the scheduled closing date!

Shocked By a Delayed House Closing?

What should you do?  What should you think?

First of all, STOP and take a deep breath.  Most likely there is an explanation that will require listening and patience on your part.  It's better to be as level-headed as possible when dealing with this.

Here are 3 questions to ask:

  1. Determine whether or not the Buyer would still like to purchase your property.  This is critical in figuring out how to proceed.  If the Buyer is still onboard and there is a lending glitch, then there is still a chance that selling your house to this Buyer will work.  If the Buyer has gotten a case of cold feet, then it's up to you to decide whether or not you will let them out of the contract.
  2. If the Buyer DOES still want to purchase your property, then find out if their loan has been declined.  Ask your realtor.  If they don't know, then ask them to call the lender and find out.  If they will not do it, then get the lender's information from your realtor and make the call yourself.  If you find out that their loan HAS been declined, then try and persuade the Buyer (through the appropriate channels of your realtor to their realtor to the Buyer) to go with another lender.  Most realtors know lenders in the business who can get the job done.  Have a discussion with your realtor about who they know that could handle this.  If the Buyer decides to switch to another lender, then be prepared to wait another two-three weeks.  If the current lender is dragging his feet, then try and find out what the hold-up is and offer to help resolve it.
  3. How long should you give the Buyer to perform on the contract?  This is an important question to ask your realtor.  They have been through this before and can advise you.  The true answer to this question usually reveals itself during the "waiting" period.  During this time, everyone feels stressed out from the uncertainty.  There will be a point for each party in the transaction where they simply cannot wait any longer for an answer and must move on.

I would strongly encourage any Seller out there right now to put in a "48-hour kickout clause" with any purchase and sale agreement where there is a sale of home contingency.  In other words, if your contracted Buyer has another property which must sell in order for them to be able to purchase your property, then there should be some verbage in your agreement stating that if another acceptable Buyer comes along and offers to purchase your house WITHOUT needing to sell another property, then you may switch to that Buyer if the first Buyer cannot buy your house within the next 48 hours.  This clause protects you and keeps your options open to the best possibilities.

In conclusion, when you find that your house won't be closing on the scheduled closing date, don't panic!  There is always an explanation.  In this market, 4 out of my last 6 closings did not occur on their scheduled closing date.  Banks are under-staffed right now and tend to leave things until the last minute.  In that 11th hour, a lot can go wrong as a result.  Stay level-headed and work with your realtor to find the right solution for you!


If you are interested in selling or finding a home in Green Hills, Downtown, 12th South, or Oak Hill area of Nashville, or would like to look at other real estate for sale in the Middle Tennessee area, please search the MLS HERE.  Please note:  You will have to register with my site to be able to search the MLS.  I will contact you initially and all requests thereafter for privacy will be respected.

Looking to move?  Wanting to Invest?  Need help as a First Time Buyer?  Please feel free to call me, Emily Lowe (yes, I'm a Realtor, with The Lipman Group Sotheby's International Realty) at 615.509.1753

Comment balloon 6 commentsEmily Lowe • March 30 2010 12:36PM


Emily, this just happened to me yesterday. Actually we were supposed to close Friday and they postponed it to Wednesday. Yesterday they found out the Buyer had changed jobs. Now we have to wait on the first paystub and won't be able to close until Mid April!

Posted by Connie Harvey, Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate (Pilkerton Realtors) almost 8 years ago

Emily this is a well thought out and written post. Nice job! BTW I've enjoyed keeping up with you on FB and hope you are doing well!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Hi Emily, just dropped by to see what was going on in your part of the world, hope you are doing well!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Ohhhh I dread the day that this happens.  But it happens so often now that I'm completely used to it.

Posted by Mark Lebkuchner / Home Loan Specialist almost 8 years ago

This happened to me and the buyer actually doesn't pick up the phone. We don't know what happened and its been more than 96 hours since the closing date. Our house is still on the market, and I know you advised not to panic, but it is hard not to. If you have any more advise, it is welcomed!

Posted by Elizabeth over 7 years ago

Hi Elizabeth - Thank you for your comment.  I am sure you are feeling pretty bad right now.  This is an extremely stressful situation. 

Even if the buyer won't pick up the phone (which is unfortunately fairly common also), most buyers are being represented by a real estate agent.  Are you able to get any information from the agent?

If there is no buyers' agent involved, then consulting with your real estate agent would be the next step.  They have most likely been through this before and can advise you best.

If there are no agents involved at all (if you are selling by yourself), then it is time to call your real estate attorney and ask what can be done next.  You may have a case for "specific performance" where you can force the buyer to purchase your home.  You would only be able to do this if the buyer's financing contingency has been satisfied (if the bank approved the buyer's loan).  If the bank did not approve the buyer's loan, then you are the victim of this dreadful market and you need to move on and find another buyer. 

I would encourage other agents to step in here with any other advice they may have - also, Elizabeth, you can post your question on and hopefully get a large number of answers and a lot of advice from other real estate agents.

I wish you well and I hope that this buyer comes through for you...


Posted by Emily Lowe, Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty) over 7 years ago