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Does the Home Seller Have to Move out Before the Closing?

written by: KAFrancis•edited by: John Garger•updated: 2/26/2011

When you close on a home, usually you can move in the same day. What happens if the seller cannot vacate before the closing?

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    photo 21459 20101007 When a home is sold, possession of the home traditionally transfers from the seller to the buyer at the closing. However, there are times when possession of the home transfers after the closing. This begs the question: When you close on a home, does the seller have to be moved out? This article answers that question, examines a few special situations and explains the process of transferring ownership from the seller to the buyer.

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    Seller's New Home Not Ready

    Many times a home seller is selling a current home while purchasing a new one. On a good day, the closing on the new home takes place before the closing on the old one. But there will be times when the question "When you close on a home, does the seller have to be moved out?" comes up.

    Sometimes the new home is not ready in time and the seller has nowhere to go. If this happens, the seller can ask the buyer for an extension. This can be further complicated if the buyer is also selling a home and has to be out of the old home by a certain time. If the buyer has some wiggle room regarding when he/she needs to vacate the property, then many times the buyer will grant the extension. However, if the buyer cannot grant the extension, the seller will need to vacate the property and seek an alternative place to live until the new house is available.

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    If the buyer bought a home at a sheriff's auction, there could be some animosity or resistance on the end of the former owner. In some cases, the former owners, who become tenants by default after the auction, may refuse to vacate the property. If this happens, the buyer has two options.

    If the property was an investment, the new owners can make the former owners sign a lease and allow them to stay on the property. If, however, the new owner plans to live in the home, he/she can file the appropriate papers and have the current tenants evicted.

    In some states former owners who refuse to move from a foreclosed home are automatically evicted after a period of time. If you buy a property from an auction, it is advised that you determine how the process works in your state.

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    Most of the time, the sale of a home from the seller to the buyer goes smoothly and without any real issues. But there will be times that due to no fault of either party, delays occur. Sometimes, the most simple solution is to delay the closing to a date that works for everyone. In some rare cases, when an agreement cannot be reached, the sale can be cancelled.

    Whatever the situation, if you find yourself in a bind as either the buyer or seller, it is important to inform the other party as quickly as possible so a satisfactory solution or agreement can be worked out. Communication can be the difference among a stress-free closing, one that is strife with worry, or one that does not happen at all.

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    "Closing FAQ’S for Sellers."

    Image Credits:

    "Home OK" - Filomena Scalise