Possession After The Transaction is Closed.
The final step in the process of buying a mountain home is possession, the part where you get the right to occupy the property and the prior homeowners have moved out, leaving you finally in your new home, on time just as you planned.
Well, usually that's the way it goes. In some cases, a seller will ask for permission to keep the home for a length of time after the closing. Seems harmless enough, but before making your choice there are some important things to remember.
Sometimes just before closing, a seller asks the buyer for more time to vacate the property, or to take care of other issues on the sale. Though such a request may seem in order, you really must consider it cautiously. If you choose to allow the seller to stay in the house beyond closing, they must be made to pay rent for any extra days.
There must be a limit on the length of time the seller can stay in the property beyond the signing of the contract, and it needs to be in written form. A clear agreement or contract addendum between the parties containing the specifics of the after-closing possession benefiting the seller can be provided by the attorney or, in jurisdictions where attorneys are not part of real estate contracts, by the escrow officer or your Realtor.
The seller may attempt to force the situation by giving you no time to decide. If the seller announces at closing that he or she needs to stay in the home longer, it is normally best to push back closing on the property until the seller can vacate the premises.
Once the contract papers are signed, the property belongs to you and is your legal responsibility. This is true even if it is still occupied by the person who used to own it. If the seller starts a fire, you are entirely responsible for the damage because of your standing as the legal owner of the home. The seller will not have to pay for the damage unless it is specified in the agreement, and even then the seller's liability is likely to be restricted under applicable law.
Sellers who stay in possession after closing have less motivation to take good care of the property. The closing of the transaction means that any responsibility for damage is yours as the buyer; what you bought, and what they were responsible for delivering, was defined at the time of closing. Anything that occurs to the property after closing accrues to the buyer, independent of who is living there. So if a carpet gets torn up or the pipes spring a leak, you will have to pay for the repair.
Another common problem with the seller retaining possession beyond closing is that items that should remain with the home, such as air conditioning units or light fixtures, can vanish between the closing date and final possession of the home. Even in this case, it is the buyer who loses.
As a mountain Real Estate buyer, you take on the responsibility of an investor in the property. It is safest to firmly insist on possession at the time of closing, or to put off the closing until the seller has moved out and can relinquish the keys.
Buyer's Agent a better choice!
The Listing Agent, unless specifically disclosed otherwise, represents the seller in any transaction for the sale of a home. It is that Agent's fiduciary duty to protect the seller's position at all times. No matter what they tell you their loyalty will lie with their selling clients. That is why you want an agent with experience like Gary Ward of Advantage Chatuge Realty to represent YOUR interest as a buyers agent when buying real estate in the Blue Ridge mountains.
Advantage Chatuge Realty Gary Ward Buyers Agent for the NC Mountains and North Georgia Mountains
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