Home Buying in Fremont>Question Details

Home Owner, Home Owner in Fremont, CA

is it acceptable to have the sellers still living in the house during the final walk through of the house?

Asked by Home Owner, Fremont, CA Fri May 23, 2008

just 1-2 days before the actual closing date. i am in this situation where my agent "claims" that this is done often - but it sounds totally counter intuitive to me as i am concerned that how can i see the state of the house when someone is still living in it.

what would you recommend that i do?
- move the closing date forward? but this may jeopardize loan rates
- ask for a significant security deposit that can cover up cleaning and repair costs should something happen in those final days

other suggestions?

Help the community by answering this question:


In Florida generally the sellers are out the day of closing. It is not ideal to have the sellers still living in the house especially after the closing. Your intuition is right on!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 9, 2008
Most of the time the sellers are still living in the house until close of escrow. Why would a seller move out until they know that the home is sold? I typically write into buyer's offers that occupancy will be close of escrow plus 2 days. One for the seller to move and one for the seller to have the house cleaned, including carpets. This needs to be written into the contract at the time the offer is made. In many cases the seller cannot close on their next home and move until the close of their current home. The purpose of the final walk through is to determine that the home is in substantially the same condition as when the buyer made the offer, and that any repairs requested as the result of inspections have been done. If the buyer finds a problem that was covered up by furniture or personal belongings after close of escrow, the recourse is to either mediation/arbitration, small claims court or lawsuit depending upon the terms of the contract and the dollar amount of the problem. Also, pre-owned homes are not going to be "perfect" You may have to paint or do new floor coverings. Take that into consideration in your initial offer. Congratulations on your new home!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 9, 2008
Your REALTOR is right. In most situations, it is not reasonable to have the seller move out early so you can verify the condition of the home. They are often waiting for another escrow to close so they can move directly to their new home.

The issue here is not whether or not it is counter-intuitive – it is all based upon the contract. Section 3. B. of the standard C.A.R. California Residential Purchase Agreement states exactly when you can expect to get occupancy of your new home. As an example, if the time shown for delivery of the property to you is 2:00 p.m., then a seller occupying the home does not need to vacate the home until 1:59 p.m. and 59 seconds. Moving the closing date will more than likely not change this – the seller has a right to stay put until the very end.

Fact is, the closer you get to moving day the more difficult it actually may be to properly view your new home. Most sellers have large numbers of boxes, etc. stacked all over the place making it very difficult to properly assess the condition of the home.

Asking for a deposit in the event damage occurs is not normal practice. It would have to be spelled out in the offer right up front, and most sellers would probably counter it out of the contract. Remember that the primary purpose of the walkthrough is to verify that repairs have been completed as per the contract and to observe whether or not the home is in the same condition as when you wrote your offer.

If, upon moving in, you notice things that are in violation of the contract, you have a couple of options. Have your REALTOR immediately contact the other side for an explanation and a remedy. If a solution is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, you have binding arbitration and small claims court to fall back on. In addition, if you used a REALTOR who has done a large number of transactions in the area, their market presence and connections may be a tremendous advantage in leveraging a satisfactory response.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 8, 2008
Your agent is correct. The date that you will be given possession of the home is clearly stated in the purchase contract (usually COE aka close of escrow and sometimes 1 to 3 days after close of escrow). This allows the seller to retain possession of their home until you actually close. Unfortunately, in today's market, we are seeing people who sign loan documents and then the loan does not fund. Imagine how you would feel if you were the seller, you moved out before the actual closing and the closing never happened.

The final walk through, per most purchase contracts, is not a condition of closing and I actually know buyers who choose not to do that final walkthrough.

I would not fret too much over this. Most sellers are good people and will leave the house in very good condition. And, unless the condition of the home has deteriorated significantly during the course of the escrow period, there is probably no need to worry. Additionally, unless you wrote it into the purchase contract, it is probably too late the change the terms of the agreement and require some sort of security deposit. Discuss this with your realtor if you are truly concerned and see if she can negotiate something with the seller's agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 23, 2008
It can be done either way, though you're correct that issues might change once the sellers have moved out. For instance, in some areas a home purchase includes appliances. It'd be unfortunate to buy a home expecting the appliances to remain, and then find the house missing the appliances once the sellers had moved. Or, what's sometimes done, is that the nice appliances are replaced with low-grade used appliances.

I don't know what's the norm in Fremont. My inclination would be along the lines of your question: Escrow an amount of money to address damages or missing items.

As far as cleaning, that's likely to be the least of your concerns. Sometimes sellers are really great about leaving the house nice and spotless. Other times, they're not. You really need to anticipate that you'll have to do some cleaning once they're out of there. Or, for a few hundred dollars, get a cleaning crew in there and let them handle it for you.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 23, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Communicate through your agent with the seller's agent and seller to see what is happening, and what to expect over the next few days. If necessary, do the walk-through on the date of the closing. Your agent is right. It is not uncommon for sellers to stay until the day before closing--and things sometimes happen that mess up everyone's time-table.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 23, 2008
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