Real NEastate: What if the seller of the house I’m buying hasn’t moved out?

Q: I was supposed to make settlement tomorrow on a home I wanted in Lawncrest. We did the last-minute walk-through this morning and all of the seller’s furniture is still there! I have no idea why, but the seller never called movers and never had his stuff moved out. He now says he can’t get it all out by settlement tomorrow! I still want to buy the house, so I am planning to attend settlement tomorrow, but how long should I give the seller to get his stuff out of MY house?

A: Some of the craziest things can happen in a real estate transaction, and this is no exception. It is unfortunate this seller lacked what is considered obvious forethought and didn’t remove his possessions before settlement.

You have two options:

  1. Delay settlement for a couple days until the seller has removed all of his things from the home and you are able to do a proper walk-through and settlement.
  2. Sign a “Post Settlement Possession Addendum” to the Agreement of Sale spelling out the exact date you will take possession of the home after tomorrow’s settlement.

If your mortgage lender can delay settlement with no repercussions to you, the smartest way to go is the first option because you’re assuming responsibility of the property at the moment of settlement and you don’t want the added responsibility of another person’s belongings.

If you choose the second option, I would give the seller less than a week to get his stuff out and I would escrow a healthy amount of money at closing to cover the cost of any repairs or other unexpected situations.

Good Luck!

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on See others hereRead other NEast Philly columns here.

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