Real estate contracts are carefully orchestrated dances. There are multiple things that have to happen, third parties that have to get involved in performing certain tasks related to the closing, and even possibilities or problems, called contingencies, that may not even be known to the parties at the time that they contract.

All of this must be coordinated and finalized in a timely manner so that the parties can close at just the right time. Even a slight delay can throw a real estate closing into disarray.

But life is not perfect, and things do happen that may be outside of our control. What happens when deadlines are missed or when you are up against a solid deadline in your real estate closing?

Issues of Fault

There is no one answer to this question because much of it depends on what kind of deadline is involved.

In most cases, so long as a party is not at fault for causing a delay, the other party will usually have the option of canceling the contract if, for some reason, the deadline cannot be met.

Imagine, for example, a deadline in the real estate contract to perform an inspection. However, the inspector fails to come out when he or she is supposed to, or some unforeseen weather event makes it seem like the deadline to perform the inspection may not be met.

In that case, the buyer (the party that needs the inspection) will often have the option to cancel the contract with a return of any deposits.

There may also be contingencies that must be met. For example, if the buyer does not qualify for financing or if there is a previously unknown title problem, that may end up requiring extra time to fix, thus risking missing important contractual deadlines.

When Someone is at Fault

However, those are situations where nobody is at fault. Sometimes, someone is at fault. For example, imagine a deadline to survey a property, but the seller refuses to let the surveyor on the property, or the seller is simply not home enough for the surveyor to actually access the property. There, the seller may be in breach of the real estate contract.

In that case, the buyer would have the option of canceling the agreement and having the deposits returned, along with other legal remedies, if there are damages associated with the seller’s delays.

Extensions and Modifications

If there is a problem with a deadline, the parties may want to negotiate an extension. That is fine, so long as the extension is in writing; oral agreements to extend deadlines or alter contractual terms for a real estate contract may not be enforceable. And, if you take too long to agree to modified terms, there is a chance that you could end up losing a chance to legally back out of the agreement.

Contact our New Jersey real estate attorneys at The Law Office of Agnes Rybar LLC today for help ensuring your real estate closing goes as planned.







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The Law Office of Agnes Rybar, LLC, in Toms River, New Jersey, serves clients throughout Ocean County, Monmouth County and elsewhere in South Jersey and along the Jersey Shore, including many in Forked River, Brick and Lakewood.

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