There are advantages to choosing a closing date either close to the first or close to the last of the month. Whether you are the buyer or the seller, you have a vested interest in the closing date working for you. The date is negotiable until the contract offered by the buyer is accepted by the seller. From that point on, all efforts must be made to ensure the date is met. If you don’t close on time, you can complicate your move and risk losing the house.
As a buyer, you need to give yourself plenty of time to work out details with your lender. Most people set a closing date 30 to 45 days after the offer is accepted. A home purchase has many moving pieces and there’s always a risk that more time will be required than you think. For example, the lender may ask for additional documentation as part of the loan process. Unless you are paying cash, you don’t want a quick closing date.
Frequently, it is wise to choose a closing date near the end of the month. Interest is prorated from the date you close to the last day of the month, so you will pay less if you close near the 30th. For example, if you close on July 10, you will have to pay 21 days of interest. If you close on July 25, you only pay six days of interest result in a savings of several hundred dollars due at time of closing.
However, there are certain advantages to closing early in the month. While you will indeed pay more in pre-paid interest, you won’t have a house payment for nearly two months. This may be your best choice when considering cash flow during your move. Loan interest is paid in arrears and your pre-paid interest will cover to the end of the month. If you close in early July, for example, you won’t have a house payment due for August until the first of September. Also, because many people choose the end of the month for their closing, it is the busiest time for mortgage brokers. If the lender has a backlog, the closing could be delayed.
You will establish an occupancy date as well as a closing date. At closing, you will assume ownership of your new home. However, the actual move-in date may occur later depending on your circumstances. Sometimes the sellers have already vacated the property or will move out immediately upon closing. Others may request an extended occupancy due to the move-in date of their next home and will then pay rent to you as the new home owners until they are gone. Also, you may choose to do some renovation work on your new home before moving in and will plan on a later occupancy date. Of course, your plans will need to coordinate with the move-out date of the property where you currently live.
One last tip: avoid the holiday rush. If you are planning to make your move over a holiday, such as the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, don’t schedule your closing date for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Back it up to the Monday prior so that any glitches that might arise won’t derail your long-weekend moving plans.
Throughout the closing process, your real estate agent will guide you in planning dates and avoiding pitfalls. Lean on their expertise and you’ll be living in your new dream home before you know it!