No, you may not get the keys early!!

Real Estate Sales Representative with Metro Roberts Realty

Holding keys and model houseTime and time again I receive requests from buyers to get the keys at the final walk through.  Granted, the closing is usually the next morning, but yet, you don't own this property yet.  The owner has every right to still enter and occupy this home until it is closed and they deserve the privacy to do so.  Now some buyers beg and plead and make promises that they won't enter the property until the morning, but no offense I can't trust you.  Not that you aren't trustworthy, but the pressure will get to you and before you know there you stand the night before closing inserting key into door knob. 

Early on as a Real Estate agent I let a couple of people have keys early who swore on the lives of their children that they would not go into the property before they owned it.  The last time I gave a key to a buyer early, they started to move in before they owned the property.  I drove by about 2 hours after the final walk through to find a moving truck out front and everything moved in.  On another occasion I found the buyer and their whole family (20+ people) wandering around the home before they owned it. Needless to say I have learned my lesson the hard way.

Now Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, don't take it personal.  It is my job to protect the seller's property until it transfers ownership. Also the seller is responsible for this property up until closing. If some should fall and get injured or something got broken the seller would be responsible.  That is not a chance I can take

I know you will plead, beg and promise, but believe, me once you have that key in your hand it will be all you can do not to resist the urge to just take a peek.  Who will know?  Before you know it that evil voice in your head has convinced you its okay.  So to protect you from your self, I cannot give you the key early. 

Don't take it personal.




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Providing the Personal Service and Committment My Clients Deserve.

Lee Ann Obenauer - Licensed Real Estate Agent

For more information or assistance buyer or selling a home, please feel free to contact me at 

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Debbie Reynolds 05/30/2012 08:31 AM
  2. Robert L. Brown 05/30/2012 12:03 PM
New York Erie County Buffalo

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Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire

Lee Ann

I had one seller which did so against my advice to so and the buyer burnt down the house before close. Fortunately, I insisted the buyer have the proper insurance and it cost my seller no money, but a big pain. cheers cvc

May 21, 2012 03:32 AM #1
Lee Ann Obenauer
Metro Roberts Realty - Buffalo, NY

Thats my point exactly Curtis.  I have heard horror stories I am not taking any chances there are enough things that can go wrong with a sale.

May 21, 2012 04:04 AM #2
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Lee Ann  That is excellent advise and should be followed best to be safe then sorry


May 23, 2012 05:48 AM #3
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Fact is, if they don't own the property and they enter it without their agent, they are TRESPASSING.


May 30, 2012 08:34 AM #4
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Oh this is so true!  Don't take it personal, but the house ain't yours until . . . and if we "authorize" them to have the key OMIGOSH I can just hear them complain "Well, you told us we could go in early" If they want "early possession" work it into the contract, otherwise wait until the deal closes. 

May 30, 2012 08:37 AM #5
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

Lee Ann:

I have never given the keys to a house before the actual close of escrow.  But other agents have taken the keys from the lockbox and given them to the buyers.  One buyer started tearing a bedroom apart(the home was empty).  When I found out I hit the ceiling.  The buyer's agent asked for the key back.  All I could think of was the liability my client may have had. 

May 30, 2012 08:43 AM #6
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

Admittedly we were those clients who asked for (and got) the keys early on the last two houses we bought. In one case, Mel had already moved to our new area and stayed in the house for a couple weeks before it closed. As a professional, I wouldn't suggest it to my clients. Obviously, we knew we could be trusted to occupy the house before closing, but sellers just can't know that about just any buyer.


May 30, 2012 11:03 AM #7
Robert L. Brown - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

So much liability here giving the keys out early. What IF someone falls in the property??


May 30, 2012 12:01 PM #8
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
There are too many "what ifs" that could cost you more than your license. We need to protect the seller and protect the buyer fom themselves. Sometimes things go sideways and the house doesn't close on a Friday afternoon and is rescheduled for a Monday. How are you going to explain your stuff in a house tht is not yours yet and the half painted red wall in the dining room.? No dice buyer. You will have to wait.
May 30, 2012 12:31 PM #9
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Lee Ann, when we are new and we know the buyers, we trust them to do right thing and we give them keys but....

May 30, 2012 02:08 PM #10
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
Realtor, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

I appreciate the buyer's excitment but they usually just have just a few more hours to wait, and yes, they can make it!  This is a conversation I have at the beginning of the transaction, during the transaction, and at the closing table.

May 30, 2012 02:28 PM #11
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Early occupancy can become a nightmare!  I have also had the opposite problem of of getting sellers out after close of escrow.  It hasn't happened often but when it does it can be uncomfortable.  A more humorous case came when an electrician bought a house.  It closed on a Tuesday morning, and by the following Saturday morning, the sellers hadn't moved, and didn't look like they had even began packing.  So what did the buyer do.  He shut down the electricity to the house, and began doing a panel change.  His brother turned off the water, and began installing a sprinkler systerm.  It's amazing how a lack of electrical power and water can act as a quick motivator to get moving! 

Would I recommend getting a seller to vacate in that way?  I'm not an attorney, and always suggest getting legal advice for such matters:-)

May 30, 2012 05:31 PM #12
Mike & Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Orlando, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

On the flip side...what make someone think they have the authority to keep keys days after the closing?


Some agents think that they cannot give the keys out until the BANK authorizes them...days after closing.  IF it is not specified differently in the contract, the keys need to be distributed at the closing table.


Eve in Orlando


May 30, 2012 08:13 PM #13
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Geesh!  The nerve of some people.  I have had a few buyers ask the same thing and the answer is always no.  No no no.    

May 30, 2012 10:23 PM #14
Richard and Jean Murphy
Harborview Properties - Portland, ME
(207) 712-4796

Never let someone into the property until they own it. If our seller client agrees to this, they are advised to get legal opinion and insurance opinion.

May 30, 2012 11:02 PM #15
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Lee Ann, you are so right on this one. The answer should always be no. Buyers don't realize the liability for moving in prior to the closing date.

May 30, 2012 11:12 PM #16
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams fox cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

On several occasions we secured permission to do showings to potential renters several weeks prior to closing, of course no leases were signed until after closing.  There was one other time when we wished that we had secured permission to do some maintenance on a home, the lawn was very tall and my son was ready to get it mowed the minute that it closed, however the city had their workers over there mowing it while we closed, guess who got stuck with the bill?

May 31, 2012 11:39 AM #17
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