buyers move into the house

Can Buyers Move Into the House Before Closing?

buyers move into house before closing

Whether to let buyers move into the house before closing depends on sellers’ tolerance for risk.

Do you think it’s a good idea to let buyers move into the house before closing? Is there ever a good time or reason to give home buyers early possession of a home? I suppose the opinion greatly depends on which side of the fence you sit. If you’re a buyer, absolutely, you may develop an unexpected need for early possession right away, especially if you have to move out of your home before the closing of your new home. You don’t see anything wrong with it.

Hey, I’ve been there. I recall moving out of an apartment in Edina, a suburb of Minneapolis, the last apartment I ever lived in 25 years ago, and buying a home via a land contract of sale by the lakes in south Minneapolis. Went to closing, signed all of the documents, deposited funds and went home to finish packing. The sellers suddenly developed seller’s remorse and refused to sign closing documents. I sent a letter demanding they perform in accordance with the purchase contract, and I moved into the house anyway, without their permission.

This is not something I recommend. This is actually called trespassing. It is against the law. In my case, it worked, and the sellers signed. But it could have backfired. Just sayin’. Don’t you do this.

Yet, in an escrow that closed yesterday for a home in Antelope, the buyer’s agent asked for permission to let the buyers move into the house before closing. Their lender told them the transaction would close on Wednesday. Nobody checked with escrow, though. We had a last-minute glitch because M&T Bank had abruptly transferred the mortgage to trustee lawyers to begin foreclosure proceedings, even though the bank knew we were scheduled to close. That meant we were required to get an updated beneficiary demand from the trustee lawyers, and they could not possibly turn around that request in fewer than two days.

This is one of the problems with our lending institutions. So many banks tend to operate with internal systems and departments that do not communicate with each other. It’s like they keep separate files in each department, and the computer software systems can’t track a loan throughout the bank. Crazy to imagine that banks are that disorganized and screwed up but they are. I see it first hand all of the time, especially with short sales.

Can buyers move into the house before closing? I advised the sellers against it, but then laid out the pros and let them decide. After all, the buyers did pay for and complete all of the pest work prior to closing. The buyers also paid out-of-pocket to have the carpeting professionally shampooed. Their money had been deposited into escrow. They had signed all documents. But there was still a risk, and the sellers said, sorry, no. Sellers’ call.

When we were in a position to close 2 days later, the buyer’s agent sent an invoice from the movers for unpacking and repacking the truck. The buyers asked the sellers to reimburse them for that additional expense. I know what you’re thinking. We thought the same thing. People never cease to amaze. Further, that action solidified the decision not to let the buyers move into the house before closing. No regrets there.

Subscribe to Elizabeth Weintraub's Blog via email