Time Frames and Deadlines in Real Estate

The law has all sorts of time frames and deadlines for differing things. Keep the following as a partial list of friendly reminders and peruse the Code and Administrative rules for your favorite time requirements. 

“Timely” is defined in the Iowa Administrative Rules as being done or occurring at a reasonable time, under the circumstances. 

A “time of the essence” is normally in a later paragraph of a purchase contract, but permeates the entire consummation of the transaction. This clause behooves both the seller and the buyer, and their agents, to keep things on a reasonable track and moving along. It’s always better to discover issues early on in a process than to be blindsided at the last stages of completion.

An “hour” of instruction is 50 minutes of instruction.

The time allowed to turn in real estate license to the commission: it must be received by the IREC within 72 hours after termination.

How to count days, for example:  many inspection clauses have 10 days to inspect, tomorrow is day one. A “day” is 24 hours commencing at midnight. Weekends and holidays are included and count as days, unless they are expressly written in as excluded. 

The time to present any written offer is promptly.  This varies by differing locations and standards of practice in the state, but for urban, “hip” areas, to me, promptly means within a couple hours. For rural areas, this may be up to a day later. 

The time to make an application for a loan is immediately or within a specified time frames.  

The time for the buyer to inquire about property insurance is IMMEDIATELY after acceptance of the offer. 

The best time to take real estate course is January, February, or March as it’s generally when the market is slow, there is snow on the ground, and classes are less full, allowing greater participation and learning! The worst time to take continuing education is November-December when people panic and classes fill up.

The time to apply for your renewal of your license is prior to Dec 31. The time to really start thinking about getting your final courses to renew is July 4th.

The time to make sure you have Errors and Omissions Insurance is today! (If you have an active real estate license.)

A 72 hour clause, without further clarification is straight 72 hours calendar hours. No breaks, no holidays, no weekend. 

5 banking days to have earnest money deposited. In the age of online banking 24/7, what is a banking day? The rule of thumb has been to refer back to where a mortgage company is traditionally open – and those days are Monday - Friday.

How do we account for holidays, local, state or national and other days? There is no requirement for any business to recognize a federal holiday. 

Federal holidays are for Federal Government employees.  

The same can be said for state and local holidays – it would only be for those municipal workers in that locality.

The time to remove signage and advertising when a listing expires is immediate. Make every reasonable effort to remove website and yard signs as quickly as possible. The time to remove signs when the transaction closes at that date, with all reasonable effort shall be exerted. 

The time a listing expires is any time, but there must be a definite time in the future when it does expire.  No open ended listings.  The same goes for a Protection Clause after a listing expires. 

The time required to elapse prior to obtaining a Broker’s license is two years, unless granted a waiver by the Iowa Real Estate Commission. 

The time to verbally present your Agency relationships is prior to providing “specific assistance”.  The time to get written Agency disclosures confirmed is prior to any written offer. 

The time to balance your Trust Account is by the end of each month. 

The time to send earnest money back (without the parties signature/express consent): to buyer – 30 days after the date of dispute, certified letter to both parties, then 30 days thereafter that; to seller – 6 months after the date of dispute, certified letter to both parties, then 30 days thereafter.   

The time you must keep a complete file on each transaction is five years. 

The time which must elapse prior to commencing an Adverse Possession claims is 10 years. 

The time limit you can sue/be sued for just about anything is two years after the date of discovery. The time for something in an unwritten contract is five years. The time for something within a written contract is 10 years.

Therefore, there is plenty of time to worry about real estate contract issues!


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