Contributed by Gary Griffin.
So many times, Buyers agree to allow sellers "time to move out" after closing. This is a mistake.
Once the buyer owns the property, anything that happens to the house is their liability.. read on
Be Cautious in Agreeing to Delayed Possession
All Signed and sealed, got the keys in your hand, arriving at your brand-new address for the first time with children gathering around to have a look at your furniture. Perfect picture of a moving day, right on the agreed date! That's what you had in mind. But wait! What's that? A delay?
In some cases, a seller will ask to remain in the real estate for a time after closing. You may say yes or no to the request, but before you make your decision, there are some important things to keep in mind.
Requests for Possession Delay
Sometimes just prior to contract closing, a seller may ask for time to vacate the home, or to take care of other issues on the transfer of possession. While the request may seem to be in order, a buyer should consider it with caution.
If you choose to allow the request, the prior owner should at least be made to pay rent for any extra time. There must be a firm limit on the time the seller can stay in the property after the signing of the contract, and it needs to be in written form. An agreement setting forth the details of the after-closing possession can be provided by the real estate attorney or, in jurisdictions where attorneys are not involved in real estate purchase contracts, by the escrow officer.
If the seller announces at the time of closing that he or she has to stay in the home longer, and you agree to allow it, it is usually advisable to delay closing on the property until the seller can clear out, rather than become an unwilling landlord to a potentially troublesome tenant.
Why is Possession Following Closing a Problem?
Once you close on a property, it's yours. It is your responsibility. Anyone living there can do so only with your permission and they should be under a rental agreement or equivalent; even that does not insulate you from the risk of a loss. If the prior owner accidentally starts a fire that damages the house, you are responsible and you are accountable for the loss. The "tenant" will not be accountabile for the loss unless it is clearly included in the agreement -- and even then the inclusion may be hard to enforce.
Additionally, sellers who stay in possession after closing have a lower level of motivation to take care of the property and make needed repairs or do any maintenance. When the deal closes, you accept it in the condition in which it stands at the time of closing.
Whatever damage that occurs after the contract closing accrues to the buyer, irrespective of who is living there. So if a carpet gets torn up or a furniture mover drags an appliance and scars a wall or kitchen tile, you will end up paying for the entire cost of the repair work.
A frequent problem with letting the seller keep possession past closing is that items that should remain with the home can disappear between closing and the time the buyer takes possession. Even in this case, the buyer is responsible for the loss because that liability goes along with ownership.
As the buyer, you assume a responsibility commensurate with your investment. It is safest to stay with possession at the time of closing, or to reschedule closing until the former owner has moved out from the property and can deliver the keys.
This article was furnished through Automated Homefinder, the Longmont real estate experts in Colorado. From my website www.GaryGiffin.com Articles