Home Buying in 92880>Question Details

Stephen, Other/Just Looking in

in escrow now, am I able to start fixing or cleaning the outside of the house?

Asked by Stephen, Mon Aug 29, 2011

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Voices Member’s answer
No, No & No! Diana said it best; You do not have the legal right to do so. Too much liability involved. Damaged property, false claims of damage and the potential for injury are just a few. If anything negative happens, escrow could be seriously delayed (and that would be best case scenario).

Plenty of great answers.

Have a great day and enjoy the next several days before you get your keys!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 11, 2012
Glad to hear you are in escrow. You do not have any right to the property until it has recorded (been changed to your name). As the other agents have indicated, escrow does not mean that the property is yours. So anything that you might want to do you would need permission from the seller.

In reality the seller can give you permission to work on his property, but it is never recommended because you could make improvements at your cost and the escrow may not close for some reason and you will have invested in the seller’s property with no recourse to get your money back. It would be like you giving them a gift.

Hang in there!

Diana Margala 909-560-0145
The “Real” Difference in Real Estate
Information is “Free” but Knowledge is Priceless
Web Reference: http://www.dianam.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
Stephen - no do not fix or clean anything. The house is not yours until it closes escrow.

Every buyer thinks the property is "basically" theirs and they want to get a jump on repairs BUT..have you thought about what happens if it doesn't close?

If you're in escrow, you'll own it soon enough. Just wait. Make a list, price out repairs (and ask for permission for entry if needed) but don't start anything.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 27, 2011
I get this question from my clients frequently... to which I answer... I wouldn't until I was confident the transaction would close AND after obtaining approval to start working from the current owner (IN WRITING). If you were my client, I might advise you in the same way.

Cameron Novak
The Homefinding Center
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
No. Until escros closes, the house belongs to the seller.

As eager as buyers are to get started, I would caution you about spending time or money on the house until it closes. Deals have ways of falling through when you least expect it.

I know it's hard, but wait it out :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 9, 2012
First of all, congratulations on your escrow. There's never been a better time to buy a home!

My general answer would be to say "NO! NO WAY!" But, If you were my buyer, there are variables that might cause me to say "Yes" in very rare circumstances. If you don't mind donating time, money and energy to someone's home then you may want to proceed. But let me share a story.

Several years ago, on an approved short sale listing, I arrived at the vacant house to find the buyer and their family painting, doing flooring and some minor repairs/upgrades. They had just received their loan approval and apparently their inexperienced agent had told them it was a "done deal". I told them the same thing I ALWAYS tell MY buyers, "nothing is over until I meet you at the house to give you the keys & your closing statement." Then I politely explained to them about the legal ramifications of them doing what they were doing, told them all to leave and proceeded to change the lockbox code. It could have all worked out fine in the end, but...there's more.

Four days later, Freddie Mac foreclosed on the home. The buyer's inexperienced agent then told them what had happened and apparently didn't relay the info I gave to her because her outraged buyers fired her. Wait for it...there's more!

I jumped in to action and was successful in getting the foreclosure reversed so we could proceed with our short sale and still close on time. I contacted the buyer's agent, who in turn contacted her buyers. Incensed at the money they had already "lost", they apparently decided to take a break from looking for a house. During the short time from Freddie Mac foreclosing to me getting back to them, they decided to purchase a new vehicle. Unfortunately, this threw their qualifying ratios out of whack and they no longer qualified for their loan.

I won't bore you with the details of the lawsuit they filed which, by the way, they lost. But I will say the new buyers of the home LOVED the new paint, flooring, & upgrades.

So, if you haven't given up and you're still reading this long answer, I believe there are two good things to take away from my story:

1. "Nothing is over till it's over" so don't do the repairs
2. Don't work with inexperienced agents.

Good luck with your escrow!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 9, 2012
Absolutely not!!!!! The listing Agent could actually file a legal claim against you if they so choose! Just be patient! It will close before you know it. Have your agent there when you take measurements etc for flooring or window treatments etc. :)

Please feel free to call or email anytime.

Lydia Kray- Corona/ Eastvale Realtor
cell 951-733-1058
Web Reference: http://www.LydiaKray.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 29, 2011
I just answered another post like this in another thread two days ago (illustrated a horror story someone went through who tried to do this to get a conventional loan). I suspect it's the same scenario where the seller won't do any repairs (most likely is a REO) and the buyer is trying to make their home (FHA) insurable. If this is the case then you need to change your financing type to a 203(k), HomePath (if it's an eligible Fannie Mae property) or HomeStyle loan. All three of these loan types will allow you to escrow the repair money to make your house eligible for closing and funding and the work is done post-close.

I have a great many posts about the product in my past questions if this does match your situation. Any lender with IN-DEPTH knowledge and experience with the product (most likely a 203k) will be able to assist you. You may contact me if you have specific inquiries as well by clicking on my picture/profile.

Best of luck!

P.S. The link to the previous post (below) with a similar issue (ignore the other issue in the thread, that's not relevant to this thread)

Web Reference: http://RobWeber.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 28, 2011
I soooo agree with Steve Hung. Well said. I listed everything I needed done, scheduled estimates and shopped the home stores. I did buy an empty foreclosure so I could go into the house to get estimates and measure windows. It kept me busy and I was able to prioritize. I was ready to go when I got the call that the locks were changing and it had recorded that day.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 28, 2011
Patience is your virtue at this point! Remember that your home owner's insurance does not take effect until close of escrow. You have no protection if there was an accident or something happened to prevent the close of escrow. Sometimes a loan can get funded sooner and escrow can close sooner, that is the path you want to take! Congrads! Terry Bell, Realtor, Sonoma County Wine Country, California
(Your thumbs up is always appreciated!)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 27, 2011
Absolutely not. That house is not yours until it records even if you get the key early. You have no insurance on the property and its not yours. Wait until it records. Don't transfer untilities until that day either. Do not bring anything into the home and leave it even if its vacant..
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 27, 2011
I have 3 things to say to that:

1. NO!
2. NO!
3. NO WAY!

There are ways in order for you to do so, however they're risky and I always dissuade any buyer of doing this. Take it from me and all the other professionals who have commented before me. It's just too risky.

By the way, if you still really want to fix & clean, let me know. I have a huge long to-do list of stuff on my house that you can practice with while you wait for your escrow to close!

No? Not interested? Oh, well.

Have patience and I wish you good luck on closing your new home!

Ray Wright
Keller Williams Realty
Serving your Real Estate needs since 1996
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 30, 2011
Too much liability involved--It's in your best interest to close before considering any work to the property....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 30, 2011
I must chime in with all my cronies. To do so would be dangerous. I know how exciting it is to be so close and your juices are flowing. Take that nervous and anxious anxiety and focus it on exactly how you envision your improvements. Take all the before photos your heart desires.

Then start sifting through home improvemen, architecture, design, landscape magazines and catalogs, etc. and start cutting out photos. You will be amazed at how much more creative you will be and quite surprised at how many times you changed your mind and thankful you didn't spend any money first.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 30, 2011
No, just wait until close of escrow, the grant deed is recorded, you have a complete ownership of the property.
When everything is done...You are ready to do any repairs and ready to move in. Congrats!
Sydney 626.759.1611
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
You definitely want to wait. It will come soon enough! Good Luck!
Web Reference: http://www.ajsocalteam.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
When doing so you are asking for legal trouble. I had a buyer that did that and the Agent threatened to cancel!
Be patient. I know your excited. :)

Lydia Kray- Tarbell Realtors
cell 951-733-1058
Web Reference: http://www.LydiaKray.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
Hi, You don't own the home until escrow closes. It's not recommended that you enter into an agreement to access the property prematurley. God forbid something goes wrong or happens to you on the property it becomes a leagl issue then.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
Just because you have a contract (in Escrow ) does not give you any rights to the property.
In fact what if it falls out of escrow and you never own it?
The property is yours in title format when you get that call the Property has recorded.
Then you have to make sure the property is vacant, to take possession.

It is never wise to go fix up a home that is not yours or in escrow.

Gather your patience. Relax,... soon you will have to call the locksmith and usually a few other people to make your property that you purchased a home.

Harold Sharpe - Broker
So Cal Homes Realty
(951) 821-8211
California Department of Real Estate Broker License # 01312992
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
Hi Stephen, ALWAYS a good idea to not do anything with the house yourself until you actually own it. Until then, the seller can do work on the house, or a vendor that the seller authorizes. You could technically start to do things if you have the seller's consent, but I always say keep it clean and make the lines of liability clear until it's all yours. Hope this helps, Caroline
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
NO. Many issues can arise from it. I would hold off on doing any work until you are the owner! Good Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
nope......don't touch a thing. Huge crazy numbers of buyers fall out of escrow for all kinds of reasons. I wrote a blog one time titled:

Your Mortgage Loan Isn't Final Until It's Funded.

You can read the blog post in the web reference link right below here.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
No. It's still not your home until it goes to closing.

If the current owner gave you permission (preferably in writing), then you could. But it probably wouldn't be wise. The transaction could still fall through, and then you'd have put money into the repairs and cleaning, but you wouldn't own the property.

Check with your Realtor for more information.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
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