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THE CLOSING DATE

Every contract for the sale of real property or cooperative unit lists a scheduled Closing Date. Many times both buyer and seller have definite intentions on when they would like to close, and they mistakenly believe that the date put in the contract is going to be the actual date on which the closing occurs.  Perhaps the transaction will close on this date, but in most cases, this date in the contract is essentially a target for which both sides are aiming rather than a hard deadline.   It is typical to see the words “on or about” before the scheduled Closing Date.  The “about” can range anywhere from two to four weeks.  The only way to ensure that the date on the contract will be the enforceable date the transaction closes is when the words “time is of the essence” are added.  Most lawyers avoid making contracts “time is of the essence” at the time the contract is executed for the practical reason that there is usually a required contingency on the closing, ie: in the case of a condominium the issuance of the waiver of right of first refusal and in the case of a cooperative the consent of the Board, which may delay the closing through fault of neither the buyer nor the seller.  Both buyer and seller should enter the contract with the understanding that the scheduled Closing Date is subject to an adjournment of at least a month or longer with no penalty to either side, unless such penalty is agreed in writing.

David Levine, Esq.
Platte, Klarsfeld, Levine & Lachtman, LLP