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

Hella Rothwell at Carmel Beach during Concours WeekCarmel-by-the-Sea Beach and Pebble Beach Golf Course California

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Or we can just chat on the phone to discuss your real estate needs.

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Member: National Association of REALTORS, California Association of REALTORS, Hawaii Association of REALTORS, Del Norte Association of REALTORS, Honolulu Board of REALTORS. Also MLS Listings in California.


Hella Mitschke Rothwell (R)

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

Tel. 831-626-4000 

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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
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

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, CRS
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, Bristow, 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
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

on the rarest of occassions I've said I thought a seller should.  One such case was where buyer was ready to close and seller hit a title snag.  But we didn't get them move things in without a formal written agreement being in place addressing the issue.

Jan 26, 2018 09:49 PM #20
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Hi Hella! I'm so with you on this! I get asked this quite often and the liability explanations are exactly what I give them and they do 'get it!' It's not something I ever want to have a seller experience.

Jan 29, 2018 06:52 PM #21
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

This is an ongoing issue that keeps popping up like a whack a mole  - and you gave just the right answer!  Have a great day! 

Jan 30, 2018 04:55 AM #22
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

I like your standard answer. I recently advised a seller not to do this with the buyers. She got burned big time on the utility bills. The seller wasn't living in the house. The buyers really turned up the heat and didn't turn it off when they left. I had also been there to check on the house and had to turn off lights. 

Feb 02, 2018 05:40 PM #23
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Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea
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