Buyer (me) needs to push the closing date back. Realistically, what will happen?

I am under contract to buy a home and have a contract to sell my current home. We have a closing date set on the purchase but cannot close on that date since my current home won't close by then. We do not have a contingency clause to sell my current home but in order to buy the next one I need the proceeds from my current home. The bottom line is that I cannot close on the new home without selling my current home first.

My plan is to tell my agent, and ask the seller, to push the closing back a week. I know that the seller can always say no, keep my deposit, sue me, and put the house back on the market but how likely is that to happen? I know if I was in his shoes, I'd much rather push it back a week than go through the nuclear option, regardless of what the contract says.

For what it's worth, the house was on the market for a fairly long time (over 60 days) before I made an offer and it's in a hot market. It's also been vacant for close to three months so I don't think the seller needs the proceeds to buy his next house, although I'm sure he's eager to sell.

So assuming my theory is correct (and please tell me if it's not) is it better to tell my agent (and the seller) sooner rather than later? I could always make up a last-minute excuse as to why I can't close (sick family member or whatever) but I'd rather not lie, although it beats getting sued. Should I offer to pay their mortgage for the extra week or buy them a gift card as a gesture of goodwill?

I know the first thing everyone is going to say is "Ask your agent" but I want the unbiased opinion of strangers that don't have any skin in the game.

More real estate tips at Program Realty Wix site

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