delay in closing escrow

How an Interspousal Deed Can Delay a Closing in Elk Grove Florin

interspousal deed

Many married couples do not realize they can’t close escrow without an interspousal deed.

My sellers just closed yesterday on a home in the Elk Grove Florin area of Sacramento that was scheduled to close on July 5th. The buyer’s offer contained provisions for a hard-money loan with a 15-day closing period. One would figure this would be an easy transaction to close without any hiccups, regardless of the buyer feedback we received. I always ask buyer’s agents to share their buyers’ thoughts after showing a home, and I pass on that information to my sellers, just so they know what buyers are saying and thinking as they walk through the home.

That kind of feedback is often very interesting. For example, we had several agents tell us that home was overpriced and they did not like the condition, felt it needed too much work. Pretty much zero upgrades. It was built in the mid 1980s and looked like it. The owners at one time had installed laminate flooring but the flooring itself was curling up at the edges and pulling away from the quarter rounds.

The kitchen is open to the living room, a nice feature many buyers appreciate and it’s hard to find in these homes, but I imagine most buyers would want to tear out the cabinets and start over with a complete kitchen and bath remodel. Tiles in the entry showcased cracks. One of the tiles had been broken into pieces, and when I went over to meet the gardener to clean up the landscaping, I methodically replaced each piece of the puzzle that some buyer or agent had removed. It could use paint throughout and new carpeting in the bedrooms.

Originally the sellers had intended to do a lot of fix up work for the house. They had been thinking of a price around $225,000. After my inspection, and drawing on my 40-some years in the real estate business, I suggested a price of $235,000 and advised them not to fix up the house. This price was on the high end but given demand, I felt we could get close to it. Buyer after buyer trudged through during the first 9 days for sale and turned down the house. We received a bunch of offers, too, ranging from $225,000 to $230,000.

We countered the $230K offer but those buyers refused to budge. They felt they knew market value and were not willing to pay list price. Well, those guys were obviously not buyers for this home, and I suspect their agent was disappointed for the communication failure. Then, along came an offer of $238,000 from our hard-money buyer who purchased the home AS IS. I do not push my sellers to take offers and often advise them to wait for what they deserve to get.

Yet, we could not close escrow on time. We obtained 3 extensions and, at one point, made the buyer release her earnest money deposit. The hold up was the buyer did not realize that because she was married, in order to receive title insurance to close escrow, she would need to obtain an interspousal deed from her husband. He lived in China. We asked her husband to go to the American Embassy and get the deed notarized. Instead, they notarized the deed in a Chinese dialect, which was unacceptable. Needs to be in English.

If a buyer is married and obtaining title insurance to buy a home in Sacramento, either the spouse goes on title or the spouse signs an interspousal deed in front of a public notary, in English. I had faith we would receive the interspousal deed because I see this happen a lot. Buyer’s agents don’t always ask about a buyer’s marital status, and they should. The sellers were somewhat nervous. Yet, the deed eventually arrived and we closed on the sale of this home at one of the highest square foot prices in that neighborhood for a home without updates.

If you need to sell your home in Sacramento, better call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.

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