21 Apr Real Estate Closings in Hilton Head & Bluffton During COVID-19
Despite COVID-19, real estate closing are still occurring daily in Hilton Head Island and Bluffton. Real Estate Agents and Attorneys are working daily to overcome challenges, while also being smart and safe. Here are three points to keep in mind as you approach your real estate closing in this new environment.
1. Working With Lenders
Just like the rest of the world, your lender is adjusting to our new environment. Lenders are balancing their new flexible working situations with their determination to ensure your closing happens in a timely manner. For a smooth closing, it is vital you complete the paperwork required by your lender as soon as possible and return it in a timely manner. Also, do not hesitate to reach out to your lender via email with any questions. Communication and flexibility are key to this process.
2. Signing Closing Documents
As part of your closing, there are several physical documents that must be signed, including the Note, Mortgage, and Deed. As a workaround to eliminate the need to go into an attorney’s physical office, many offices are using a Power of Attorney. Very few, if any, closing are being completed with everyone in one conference room. A Power of Attorney allows an Agent to sign the closing documents on your behalf. All lenders have very specific rules outlining who can serve as the Agent under the Power of Attorney for a real estate closing. Your attorneys are working hard to comply with the lender’s rules and to ensure you have a smooth closing. If you are closing by Power of Attorney, be sure to ask your attorney to review all the closing documents with you by phone or video conference before the Agent signs them on your behalf.
3. Potential Closing Delays
Just like how the COVID-19 virus has delayed many events across the world, it may cause a delay in your real estate closing. There are two specific clauses we have seen be impacted by the virus:
A. Financing Contingency
If you are financing the purchase of your new home or property, pay close attention to the Financing Contingency clause in your real estate contract. This clause dictates when the purchaser must provide the seller with a prequalification letter and a loan commitment from their lender. While the stock market may be rallying, lenders are generally concerned with job stability and economic stability. It may take longer than usual for your lender to review your loan application and approve your loan. Talk to your lender before signing your contact to ensure your establish realistic time periods for the prequalification letter and loan commitment.
B. Force Majeure
This phrase has been popping up all over the Internet recently. Generally, a Force Majeure clause in the contract addresses how the parties should respond to an unforeseeable circumstance that prevents a party from fulfilling their obligations under a contract. Hilton Head Island and Bluffton use a standard real estate contract for the majority of residential real estate transactions. This standard contract does not contain a Force Majeure clause. Instead, purchasers and sellers are getting creative when it comes to complying with the terms of their contract. If you anticipate having an issue complying with the requirements of your contract due to the COVID-19 virus, contact your attorney as soon as possible. Once your attorney is aware of your concerns, they can work with you to outline a path forward.
Your local real estate agents and real estate attorneys are grateful the local real estate market is still moving. If you are interested in buying or selling property, do not hesitate to reach out to someone during this time. We are all here to serve you in a safe and smart manner.
Lauren Williams is an attorney with Russell P. Patterson, P.A. in Hilton Head, SC. She can be reached at (843) 341-9300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information or interaction on this page should not be construed as establishing a client-attorney relationship or as legal advice. For advice about your specific situation, please consult one of our attorneys.