It doesn’t happen often, but there are times when buyers might need to ask for more time before closing on a home. For example, if there’s a delay in closing on your current home and you need that money to close on the home you’re buying, you might need to extend your real estate contract.

Legally extending a real estate contract is possible, but you’ll need to get the seller’s approval in order to do so. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Look over your contract. You might have more time already if other things didn’t happen on schedule, such as a delay in the escrow being opened. If your contract states that the closing will take place a certain number of days after this happens and it happened late, that buys you more time.
  • Make sure the seller wasn’t late. You could also automatically get more time if the seller was late on something that was spelled out in the contract.
  • Ask the seller’s agent. Let the agent know that you might need to ask for more time, and see how likely the seller will be to grant your request. They’ll be more willing to if the delay also works in their favor.
  • Give the seller a good reason. When legally extending a real estate contract, make sure it’s for a legitimate reason. This makes it more likely that the seller will agree to extend it.
  • Offer something extra. In order to assure the seller that you’re still going through with the closing, offer them a concession, such as more money upfront or a non-refundable deposit.
  • Document the changes. Make sure that any changes you make are documented by an attorney.

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