When Does a Home Buyer get Possession?
New real estate agents have it kinda tough in a market where they are supposed to know what they don’t know, especially when it comes to the final walkthrough for the buyer. The problem seems to be that some think it’s a time for the buyer to conduct a final inspection, which it is not. I’m not sure where they get that idea, but probably from the same place that other bad ideas come from, the land of assumption. To get to the land of assumption, you’ve first got to cross the river of confusion and hope you don’t have to navigate blindfolded at high tide.
I wish there was some sort of handbook, filled with mistakes that rookie agents make, so we could buy this book and gift it to them, but life seems to do a pretty darned good job of preparing them for mistakes through the gift of consequences. It’s a good way for people to remember mistakes and not make them again. Although it can be painful.
Things are not always as logical as one might assume. For example, for some reason, a buyer’s agent thought a home would be vacant for the final walkthrough. The agent believed it would be completely void of personal belongings, including said person. This information was conveyed to the buyer as a matter of fact when it was actually a matter of a big mistake. I suppose when it’s your first deal, you don’t necessarily think through every step or you believe things will happen a certain way, even when they happen a different way.
In times of confusion like this, it’s always a good idea to read the Residential Purchase Contact. Buyer possession is handled in a paragraph under “Closing and Possession.” By default, the contract gives possession of the home to the buyer on the day of closing at 6 PM. This means the seller retains possession of the property and can keep his or her personal items in the property up until 6 PM on the date it closes.
So. if you’re planning to do a final walkthrough that morning, guess what? The seller may still be living in the home and still in the process of moving out. If that is unacceptable to the buyer, the time to address this is prior to closing, say around the time the contract is presented for acceptance or any time after that, prior to the date of closing. One does not wait until the day it is supposed to close escrow and then decide to ask the seller to vacate the premises earlier. That’s poor planning and likely to backfire.
But that’s why buyers want to hire an experienced agent to help. Buyers deserve an agent who understands buyer possession and can arrange for possession to be delivered in the manner the buyer desires.
Call partners Elizabeth Weintraub, Sacramento Broker or JaCi Wallace, RE/MAX Gold at 916.233.6759.