Can We Have the Keys?

Reblogger Jon Quist
Real Estate Agent with REALTY EXECUTIVES TUCSON ELITE DRE# SA113961000

Can we have the keys?


OK, too short to qualify for the reblog rules, so let's just say what we all know.

Kind of like the forward pass in football. The old coach at Michigan State, Duffy Daugherty, said "that if you pass the ball, three things can happen and two of these results are bad!"

It is so hard to see any upside to "passing" the keys early I can't see any reason without a downside to do it. And you are not being mean, just sensible.

Original content by Connie Goodrich


"Placing the cart before the horse" is what I refer to when asked that question. 

Before a transaction closes the anxious buyers request the keys to the home to move items in, maybe just to the garage area.  Surely there is no harm in just placing a few things in the home before it officially closes. 

Your heart strings will be tugged to varied reasons and circumstances that the keys should be yield over. We have heard them all.

  • Movers will be there and we thought it would be closed by now.
  • Just a little delay from the lender but all is well.  We just need to get a jump on the move time.
  • We took off from work to move and we don't want to waste those days.
  • We have closed on our home and will have no place to move and put our things.

And the list goes on.  So how do you approach this situation as the Realtor representative for the seller?  Sticky situation and certainly your heart may want to be of assistance, help the buyer out.  Just remember as a listing agent, as callous as this sounds, need to focus on your client's best interest.  There are risks that should be discussed and recommendations you can make.  Just remember, the seller is the one who gets to make the ultimate decision.  You need to be factual, present all arguments and just sit back and let the seller tell you what to respond when that question of keys early arises.

Consider the following in the discussion - the best thoughts are to give the What If circumstances:

  • Liability - contents in the home and damages that could possibly occur from moving items in.  Also the items them self could be damage and what if they home were broken into and contents stolen.
  • What if the home did not close at all.  It derailed due to unforeseen factors and now you have contents in a home that needs to be sold.
  • What if they moved in and they did not like the home or neighbors before closing ... now we have a problem.

And that list can go on as well.  There are some suggestions should your client, the seller decide to look favorably to hand over the keys to minimize the risk. 

  • Get a buyer's temporary lease back and outline responsibilities for possible issues.
  • Obtain a security deposit that is non-refundable but will be credited back to the buyer when the home closes.
  • Make sure the buyer has insurance coverage for contents.

Different avenues for decisions to hand over the keys.  I believe that this is a huge risk and certainly fully discuss this with my clients.  What advice would you recommend when asked to hand over the keys before the transaction has funded?


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Don Williams
Keller Williams Realty - Lewes, DE

Hi Jon, terrific advice, I hate those situations.

Dec 30, 2010 05:23 AM #1
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Jon, I couldn't agree with you more!

Jan 03, 2011 09:19 AM #2
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Jon Quist

Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996
Moving to Tucson? Call me.
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