I don't know if it was a commercial for cold cereal, or "Big-League Chew" or something else, but as a kid there was this commercial that ran during Saturday morning cartoons where the kid is playing outfield in a baseball game. The ball is hit and headed his way when he realizes it is actually about 50x the size of a regulation ball and he says, "I got it, I got it....YOU got it!"

That pretty much sums up just about every real estate transaction being handled by today's real estate Professional. It isn't any one person's fault, it is just the way it is. Several factors may account for last minute delays: Increasing "tight" lending standards for one and honestly, a current bottleneck due to heavy buyer activity may be the biggest culprit.

Just this last week we ran into a classic case of "close yet so far away" on a transaction.

Our Buyer was coming from Salt Lake City and had just closed on the sale of their personal residence the night before. They arrived on Tuesday and for whatever reason, their Lender didn't have loan documents ready to sign so they graciously put the Buyers up in a hotel for the night.

The next day their moving truck showed up with the crew saying "where do we put this stuff? We gotta' be in Las Vegas later this afternoon." At the same moment the Lender called and told us that FHA was asking for a termite inspection as a final condition for closing the loan!

WITH the moving company there, the Termite Inspector (Wade of Western Pest Control, a great guy), showed up to inspect. No problem, the home was only built in mid 1990's right, shouldn't be any critters, right? Wrong.

TERMITES! Nothing major, but had to be treated right then. This of course delayed closing, move-in, the works! Sheesh.

Fortunately the Buyers are tremendous people and were so excited about their new home purchase they were able to forgive all of the inconveniene of the day.

I don't know whether sharing this story will make me look stupid or experienced, but it happened and other agents, buyers and seller can and should learn from it.

Lesson? Just like in every facet of life there are going to be hiccups, snags, unexpected delays. When you are dealing with the purchase or sale of your home the stress is enhanced. Here are a few tips to create a little "insurance" against these types of incidents:

 1. Get a "thorough but basic" understanding of the Purchase Contract (REPC): The oxymoron in the heading for this point illustrates this key point: Don't waste your time becoming a real estate Attorney all of the sudden when you buy or sell, but DO get a very solid understanding of the contract deadlines, consequences of missing them, and methods to extend them if necessary.

A solid real estate agent should be able to make this all very clear. (toot my own horn moment coming up right....NOW!!) The Larkin Group prides itself on being able to take a complex, legally binding document and making it very plain and simple for the average Joe.

2. Turn in all necessary documentation YESTERDAY! This means items requested by Lenders, Title, Real Estate agents, etc. This could be pay stubs, employment verification, repair histories, HOA info, whatever. I have seen dozens of deals get delayed because buyer or seller procrastinated in delivering key information.

3. Hope for the best, plan for the worst: "Be optomistic and pessimistic all at once!" Meaning...certainly put all of your energy and faith into the process going smoothly and as planned, but always remember that it could get delayed and sometimes it is just noone's fault. I have had many clients put themselves in a bad situation by moving out of their current residence becuase the proposed closing was scheduled for say June 1st, then the deal was delayed until the 10th!

I've seen sellers have to move back in because buyers bailed at last minute, and buyers have to find immediate, emergency housing in the interim. Not fun.

Be prepared mentally and emotionally for this most exciting purchase or sale of your lifetime and you will have a great experience every time.

Until next time...