Sorry, you can't store items in your new home before closing.

Real Estate Broker/Owner CA#01772851 HI#RB21268

When the time gets close to closing, buyers get all excited and often ask if they can put "just a few things" into the house they are buying.

Even though pretty much everything is negotiable in a transaction, that is one thing I tell my sellers not to allow.

What's the big deal, you ask?

First, I am a firm believer in that final walk through, where the buyer goes through the house just before it closes and accepts the property as the seller leaves it. 

At this point, the buyers will have signed the documents, their lender or the buyer will fund, escrow records the deed, and the buyer get the keys.

The buyer now owns the home.

But what if the seller let's the buyer "store" some stuff?

Picture this: the buyer and a buddy bring a couch into the house and one of them gets injured. Whose liability is it? Well, the seller's. The buyer is not insured yet, any insurance wouldn't start until after closing.

How about access? Does the agent of the buyer or seller let the buyer in with the stuff? Or will the seller give the buyer a key before closing?

I don't think so. Liability is the big concern again.

Lastly, what if there is a last minute hitch with the sale? Now the seller has personal items that belong to someone else in his house.

What is my standard answer?

If you need to get in early, you need to close early.



Posted by

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Hella Mitschke Rothwell (R)

Real Estate Broker/Owner/Realtor®
Licensed in California #01772851 & Hawaii #RB-21268

Tel. 831-626-4000 

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Maria Sapio
Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty - Carlisle, PA
Real Estate Agent- Carlisle, PA.

Thank you Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® for sharing your thoughts and insight.

Nov 26, 2017 05:02 PM #1
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I have only agreed to this a very few times with some heavy restrictions

Nov 26, 2017 05:05 PM #2
Jeff Dowler
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

I do the same, Hella. There are plenty of risks with doing this as you have outlined.


Nov 26, 2017 05:45 PM #3
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

I agree, Hella. Too many "What happens if" that could happen. 

Nov 26, 2017 07:00 PM #4
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

No good can come of early occupancy, even just if storing a few things, none at all. I agree with you 100%!

Nov 26, 2017 07:43 PM #5
Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Fortunately, I don't asked this more than once every few years. Once I explain to people why it's not a good idea, they get it.

Nov 27, 2017 03:54 AM #6
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Every once in a while, a seller in Sacramento might allow storage in the garage of a vacant house, but that's rare. I'm with you on this, if you want in early, close early. My main reason is the time for the buyer to realize she made a mistake is after the closing, when it's too late to do anything about it, not before, LOL.

Nov 27, 2017 07:56 AM #7
Jim Smith
The Property Management Company - Round Rock, TX

As a Property Manager, we get asked this often.  The answer is always a simple and firm NO.  When someone has access to a property prior tom their legal possession, all kinds of liability issues present themselves.  All you need to do is be involved with just one law suit involving the parties and insurance companies to understand why the answer is always NO!

Nov 28, 2017 06:51 AM #8
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Hella, I used to get this question many years ago, gratefully not in the last few years:) and I agree that is my answer too, close early:)Endre

Nov 29, 2017 06:53 PM #9
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Dec 02, 2017 07:12 PM #10
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale

Oh the liability...dual to just say NO !

Dec 03, 2017 01:43 AM #11
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

definitely!  I like your line  - If you need to get in early, you need to close early.

Dec 03, 2017 04:12 AM #12
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® ,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week! Somehow I missed it and my philosophy is the same. ..very simple rule: If you need to get in early, you need to close early.

Dec 03, 2017 07:09 AM #13
Matthew Klinowski, PA
Downing-Frye - Naples, FL
Golf Community Real Estate Expert

Hella, I totally agree with your view.  One of the reasons clients should use a realtor is to protect them from mistakes they may not even be aware they might make.  This is a perfect example.

Dec 03, 2017 07:15 AM #14
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

I can see why Kathy chose to highlight your post this week!

Dec 03, 2017 07:23 AM #15
Jeff Dowler
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Hella

I came back to read this as it's such an important topica, but was curiouse about the opinions of others.


Dec 03, 2017 07:55 AM #16
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

I'm with you on this one.  And what if the house burns down or gets robbed?  The sellers home owner's insurance isn't covering the buyer's items.

Dec 03, 2017 08:33 AM #17
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

Boy have I heard that request thousands of times. I've even had agents do it anyway after I explicitly told them no Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® 

Dec 04, 2017 08:59 PM #18
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Many buyers ask this question and the answer is too much risk for all concerned. Hope you had a very Merry Christmas.

Dec 26, 2017 08:32 PM #19
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Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea
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