Going on vacation during the mortgage process

20140628_111831‘Tis the season for going on a vacation.  But what if you are buying a home or in the middle of refinancing your mortgage? Ideally, if you’re buying or refinancing a home, you won’t have any travel plans until after the transaction has closed…however, we know things aren’t always “ideal”… and vacation or business travel plans are sometimes a must.

Here are some pointers I hope you find useful should you find that you’re traveling while in the mortgage process.

Communication. Please be sure to let your mortgage originator, real estate broker and escrow officer know as soon as you are aware of your travel plans. It’s possible that you may need to try to arrange your closing date and rate lock around your travel plans.

Try to be available. Even if you’re on vacation, your transaction (unless it’s put on hold) is still moving forward. There may be times when your lender or real estate agent needs additional information or documentation from you.  Find out in advance if where you are traveling to has access to internet, email, cell phone coverage, etc.

Pack contact info. Make sure you have everyone’s email and phone numbers, including the mortgage originator, processor, real estate broker and escrow officers.

Before you leave, check in with your lender to make sure you have provided everything that may be needed while you’re away. Do they have your home owners insurance agent’s contact info, most recent paystubs or bank statements, etc.

Signing during vacation.  If your vacation coincides with your signing, which is typically a couple business days prior to closing, you’ll need to work closely with escrow officer/closer too. See if they have an escrow branch near the location you will be where they can do a “courtesy signing” or if they can arrange for a Notary Public.  A notary public will typically only be able to “witness” and notarize  your signature, they will not be able to answer any questions regarding the documents you are signing.

Extended closing. If you are signing “away” from home,  your lender and escrow officer may need additional time for preparing your documents and getting them transported to where you are traveling. Additional time may also be needed for getting your signed documents back “home”.  Be prepared for possibly having your closing date delayed.

Confirm your lock expiration date. Hopefully if everyone was informed of the vacation prior to your lock, you won’t run the risk of the lock expiring. Before you go on your trip, confirm with your mortgage originator when the rate lock expires.  If your rate is set to expire prior to when you may be able to close, discuss extension fees. The longer the extension period is (the time for the rate lock expires to when you can close), the more the extension fee will cost. Check with your lender to see if there are other options with your rate if it is set to expire and be prepared to possibly have to pay for an extension fee.

Power of Attorney. You may want to check with your lender to see if signing with a Power of Attorney is an option, if you are not able to sign your documents.

The more notice you can provide your lender and other parties involved in the transaction, the better. Sometimes, if enough time is allowed and depending on where you are in the process, lenders may be able to provide loan documents early to help facilitate the closing. The key to being able to vacation while buying or refinancing a home is communication and flexibility.

Photo: Rocko (cat) and Hitch (dog behind the helm) enjoying a vacation in the San Juans.

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