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My contract has an “On or About” closing date. What does that mean?

My contract has an “On or About” closing date. What does that mean?

Most residential real estate contracts in New York do not have definite dates to close. Instead, most contracts contain “on or about” closing dates, which create a “targeted time frame to close.”

For example, a typical New York State residential contract would have closing date language stating that the closing will occur “on or about” February 15, 2018 (for example). The “on or about” language is generally interpreted to mean that both parties are afforded a “reasonable adjournment” of the closing date.

In the Hudson Valley region, most attorneys interpret “on or about” to mean that either party has thirty days beyond the closing date in the contract to complete the transaction. Accordingly, using the example above, “on or about” February 15, 2018 would create a targeted time frame to close between February 15, 2018 and March 15, 2018.

Therefore, whether you are buying or selling a home you should not make any plans to move on the “on or about” closing date unless you have spoken with your attorney and confirmed the date and time of the closing. Furthermore, if you are purchasing a home and are obtaining financing, any interest rate that you lock into should be valid for 30-45 days beyond the “on or about” closing date in the Contract of Sale (if we use the example above, a Buyer’s interest rate should, ideally, be valid through March 31, 2018-45 days past February 15, 2018).

Warning to On Line Readers: Most foreclosure contracts are completely different. Foreclosure contracts typically contain definite (“time of the essence”) dates to close. In the typical foreclosure contract, if you don’t close on time, you could be in default and/or subjected to significant penalties.

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