Buyers and sellers need to give careful consideration before negotiating possession in real estate transactions. There are only two options, possession at closing and possession after closing.

Possession at closing means the buyer is able to move into the the house once the seller signs over the deed. If you are a seller, possession at closing has some risk involved. The main risk is that you move out and the closing never happens. Last minute disasters in real estate deals are rare, but they still can happen. Since you cannot eliminate risk, the best option is to minimize risk by negotiating with the buyer for possession after the closing. In most cases, buyers are willing to give you 3-5 days after the closing at no charge. If a buyer insists on getting possession at closing, you can always ask for a larger earnest deposit or a non-refundable deposit to compensate for any damages that may occur if the deal doesn’t close.

On the flip side, the buyer has some potential liability as well if they allow a seller to maintain possession after the closing.  The buyers assume all the expenses and  liability for the property while the seller is in the property.  Any damage to the property during that time is the buyer’s responsibility to.  The buyer can also take measure to minimize their risk by asking the seller for an earnest deposit in case anything happens.  Whether you are buying or selling, possession at closing posses potential liability, so making an informed devision and knowing all your options is crucial.  By educating yourself about the process, you can greatly reduce exposure to risk and minimize damage when problems occur.

photo credit: lumaxart via photopin cc