Time Is of the Essence, Your Deal Could Very Well Die

Have you heard the phrase, “time is of the essence”? Well, you might not think it’s a big deal, but it very much is when it comes to legal contracts. Let’s take a quick look.

Photo of an alarm clock and a hand turning it off - Time Is of the Essence, Your Deal Could Very Well Die
Time Is of the Essence is a key legal term.

Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste, the hours in an off-hand way
-“Time” by Pink Floyd

Time Is of the Essence

If you’re looking for the legal explanation for time is of the essence just follow the link. It’s more than you probably want to know. But let’s make things simpler.

Real Life Example

We live in an always-on society. It seems most believe there couldn’t be enough hours in a day. As Realtors, we’re pretty much on-call, day or night, especially in this market, where clients are hunkering down to wait out what appears to be the long, cold winter of the housing recession.

Now, the purpose of this blog post is to share a recent experience in the hopes that it might help even one of you avoid what happened to us.

Just a quick synopsis, my client needed 30-60 days to close. My client, by nature, is very optimistic. Even though he was pre-approved (with two lenders) he thought he had time to shop around, find the best deal, and stroll to closing with time to spare. So, he didn’t click the start button for 27 days.

Turns out, with the recent foreclosure freeze and the massive numbers of refi’s due to low-interest rates, many lenders are quite busy and ultra leery about anything out of the ordinary.

My client’s situation was out of the ordinary.

Looking back, I was in contact with the lender with 33 days left in our window. Then again with 26, 19, 12, 7, and then every day up until our deadline. We couldn’t close.

With the deal destroyed, we now have frustrated buyers, sellers, listing agents, buyers agents, loan officers, and title examiners (and possibly some more I haven’t named). No winners, all losers.

The Sellers could have given us an extension—we were less than 1 week away, but regardless, the lesson learned here is… push, PUSH, PUSH at the beginning to move things through the pipeline. You never know when you might run out of time…

And then the one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun