Q: I am selling my house in Tacony and the buyers want to make settlement the week AFTER my move to Florida is planned. My plane seat is already reserved. I really want to make settlement before I go away so I don’t have to travel back just to sign the papers, but they refuse to move their settlement date up! They said their mortgage company can’t get it done in a month. Why not? They were already approved! This situation is really stressing me out. What can I do?
A: In an effort to protect consumers of real estate from mortgage fraud, Congress passed amendments to the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) and the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) in 2008 and the Federal Reserve Board published new regulations under the Truth in Lending Act. In May of 2009 and July of 2009 amendments were made that are impacting closing dates.
With these new government lending regulations slowing down the mortgage process, mortgage lenders are hard-pressed to get mortgages completed before 45 to 60 days from the time the Agreement of Sale is signed. Lenders are telling realtors not to make the settlement date any earlier than that time because there are additional steps, and timelines they must adhere to, that make it impossible to get it done any faster. If the buyer’s lender is saying that it can’t be done by the date you are requesting, that’s probably why.
If you don’t want to postpone your move to Florida, you can give someone else “Limited Power of Attorney” expressly to sign your closing documents only. Ask your lawyer or your abstract company to help you. After you sign over the Power of Attorney to a friend or relative you can be on your merry way and get your check in the mail.
Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.