This was posted last summer here on the blog...
It is imperative that both parties to any contract understand the terms and requirements to close. Most problems that arise in real estate transactions are misunderstandings between the parties. One person thought the seller would move out on this date or that time but the seller thought they had till such time, and so on.
Real estate agents are not attorneys! We fill in the blanks on standardized forms prepared by attorneys and approved by the state of Washington. This is designed to alleviate many problems that can happen during a real estate transaction. It is critical that all parties understand timing, dates and expectations. Many people make assumptions about how things are supposed to go. There are many standard timing issues that act as a default. For example, in Washington State, a buyer has the right of occupancy at 9pm on the day the county records the transaction. Unless specifically agreed in writing this is a contractual requirement. Many buyers think they can move in right after they sign documents or when the bank funds the loan. This can cause problems.
The moral of this tale is that both buyers and sellers need to be certain they understand the terms and conditions to the purchases and sale agreement. They should never feel afraid to ask their real estate agent questions about the details and procedures that are mandated and/or customary practices when closing a real estate transaction. Real estate agents should always be clear and concise about these terms and conditions and be certain that their client understands them. If language is a barrier then that agent needs to work harder to ensure that the clients understand.
When all parties understand the details and procedures to close, the transaction will go smoothly and everybody wins.