June 17, 2017
There are the obvious things that need to be done in a real estate transaction that take coordination between the buyers and sellers when the sellers are still living in the house.
Like when buyers and the home inspector can literally take over the house for three to four hours. Like when the appraiser can make arrangements to collect all the data necessary to generate his or her report. And when the buyers can perform their final walk-through.
There are a few more events that tend to occur toward the end of escrow that can take some coordination to avoid miscalculations, misunderstandings, and disruptions. Among them:
Utilities: Who’s shutting off what and when often takes coordination during the last week or so of escrow.
The timing gets complicated when there are questions about the actual close of escrow date. There have been times when the unexpected occurs and the close is delayed.
If the sellers order the service shut down, the closing gets delayed and the buyers don’t get the utilities transferred in time, reinstating the service frequently takes longer than a transfer of service and can cause some rather significant inconveniences. Not having electricity or hot water can make it difficult to conduct one’s daily routines.
The actual closing date: This can require some nimble coordination regarding moving vans, access to the property, and other people’s schedules.
For example, if the closing is delayed, many sellers will postpone their moving truck until the sale has actually concluded. Since many contracts are written with the seller remaining in the house for one to three days after the close of escrow, the date that the buyers can move in slides even further past the original close date in the case of a delay, causing their moving truck to be postponed.
Most moving companies are booked weeks in advance, which makes these last-minute delays difficult to pull off. Add in any impact caused by delaying the close from a Friday to a Monday, and you often need to take off work to make the move rather than moving over the weekend as planned.
Cooperation and coordination go a long way toward making this as easy as possible for all parties.
Handing over the keys: Once escrow has closed, sellers need to get the keys to the new owners.
If the sellers have stayed for a few days after the close of escrow to pack up and move out, it’s difficult to predict the actual time they’ll be finished and completely out. And buyers usually are anxious to get the keys as soon as possible.
Most agents would love to be the ones handing their buyers the keys, with lots of celebration and good wishes for a long and happy life in their new home. Instead, it often ends in a text message letting them know the sellers are gone and the key is under the mat.