Jimmo, Home Buyer in South San Francisco,...

Should I be scared the Seller of a Short Sale won't move out?

Asked by Jimmo, South San Francisco, CA Thu Jul 14, 2011

My wife and I are currently in the process of purchasing a short sale home and to my knowledge we're their last hope of selling as a short sale; otherwise it'll be foreclosed. Everything is going smooth, we made an offer and their "bank" accept the offer and gave us a contract. I believe according to the contract, we have to close by the mid August (almost a month left). We did a termite inspection last week and we're currently doing the appraisal. One thing that got me curious was during our meeting last week the seller asked my agent if my wife and I were planning to move in. (Uhmm.. that's the whole reason we're buying a place)... Now I'm thinking and researching about my options... Should I be worried about the seller not moving?

1. I kept hearing from the seller's agent that it's very hard for the seller to find a place to rent because of their condition.
2. The seller wants to sell under HAFA (i don't know what that really means), but will that force the seller to move?

Help the community by answering this question:


If your Sales Agreement provided that the property be delivered vacant you are at least OK with you performing.

Do not allow the seller to stay in the property, unless you are prepared for an expensive and time consuming eviction.

The only exception would be to have a HUGE deposit, which in itself has problems.

Just don't do it, wait.

Real Estate Broker 38 years
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 17, 2012
Assuming you have an experienced, knowledgable real estate agent and a single agency relationship, you should not have to worry about this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
Hi Jimmo,

You have received some very good answers below. The one thing I can add is be sure to speak with an Attorney right away who specializes in Real Estate law. Be proactive and find out what you will have to do if the Seller's do not perform and vacate the home as agreed to in writing. Identifying your options now will allow for you to respond quicker should the Sellers give you problems later. Good luck!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
The sellers sound like they'd want to stay and rent from you --

If they were planning to sell via HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative), one of their objectives besides avoiding foreclosure is to get relocation assistance
See http://www.realtor.org/government_affairs/short_sales_hafa
Their listing agent should have already submitted their HAFA application before or by the time the property was listed -- and not wait until after you've already had an offer accepted, you're in escrow, and about to close!

Please confirm that when the bank gave you a contract, that you mean you actually received the bank's short sale approval?

Make sure that your contract states that the property is to be delivered vacant, and stated how many days before close of escrow it should be vacated and for you to do your final walk-through. This walk-through is important to ensure the buyer that the property is in the same condition as when you made an offer -- such as are the appliances and light fixtures that are part of the sale still there? Some disgruntled homeowners strip or damage a property before vacating. If it isn't in the same condition, you may have the ability to delay close of escrow until the matter is resolved.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
I think that was the contract I received recently from the seller's bank approving the short sale price under HAFA... so if they are to receive the $3000 for moving expense, can they say they don't want to move? or by receiving the $3000, they're required to move?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
Hi Jimmo,
Don't worry just yet, they may have asked that question to see if you will rent the home to them after you take possession of the property. Eviction should be your last choice, kicking a person when their down won't make anyone happy but document all conversations in case it comes to that.
Contact your Agent on the HAFA situation, that could delay the Close of Escrow. If ALL parties agree to HAFA(seller and all Lien Holders) than when the Sellers receive $3,000. for moving expenses.

Always the Best,
Michael Kaprielian
Coldwell Banker Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
Dear Jimmo,

If it comes down to it you could do an eviction if needed. The seller may be strapped for money and a cash for keys is another option if they have not vacated the home by the time it closes escrow. Cash for keys is a cheaper option than eviction and it's basically giving them some money to move out and leave the place in good shape. You also most likely have the option of suing the seller for non-contract compliance if your contract states the terms of property possession. Of course trying to get blood from a stone doesn't really work.

Hopefully they will find another place to live soon and things will continue moving forward smoothly for you.

good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
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