How can I force the other party to close?


If your closing date is written as ON OR ABOUT, this normally gives either party the right to extend the closing date by a minimum of 30 days passed the contract date.  Unless both parties agree to a closing date nothing will happen until one party seeks to force a closing date.   To force a closing date a party must put the other on notice that you are seeking to enforce a closing date.  To do so ask your attorney to send a TIME OF THE ESSENCE LETTER (TOE) which gives a date when you are ready to close and if the other party fails to close you will be seeking to declare the contract breached.  This date must be more than 30 days after the ON OR ABOUT DATE and must give the other party a sufficient period of time to respond to the letter and close.  Sending a TOE triggers rights and responsibilities in both parties so if you do send one be prepared to close or start a lawsuit to enforce the contract.

GOOD PRACTICE TIP:  When faced with a situation where the other party is unwilling to set a closing you can do one of three things- 1) send a TOE and threaten to cancel the contract, and return the down payment or 2) send a TOE and threaten to start a lawsuit for damages or 3) continue to wait and hope that the party agrees to a date.  While choices 1 & 2 will cost you extra money in legal fees when you have decided that the other party will not willingly abide by the terms of the deal you must be prepared to enforce the contract and protect your legal rights.