Law Offices of James V. Sansone
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What can you do when a seller won't move out of the home you buy?

Buying a home as a major investment. Whether you purchase it as your primary residence or intend to rent it out to others, a new home is a significant purchase. There are many benefits to acquiring real estate, but there are also many potential pitfalls. One issue that people don't often consider until it happens to them is the potential for the seller to not move out.

Most real estate contracts include terms related to possession. Possession of the home literally means living in and using the home. In a seller's market, it is possible that you may have to concede some time to the other party in the transaction. This could range anywhere from a few weeks to several months. However, it is possible to run into a situation where they simply refuses to leave.

Add special charges and fees into any purchase agreement you sign

The best way to protect yourself from this scenario is to draft the closing documents or purchase agreement for the home with the potential for a possession issue in mind. In other words, you should include clauses in the contract that protect you if the seller does not vacate as they should on time.

Generally, these clauses include a financial penalty for each day the seller remains past your date of possession. Whether you want to live in the home and simply desire quiet enjoyment of the property or need to refurbish it and prepare it for tenants, having a seller stay past the possession date can cost you money. Not only that, it can leave you without a place to stay.

Charging a daily financial penalty for refusing to leave can help motivate a seller to vacate the property by your possession date. More importantly, it provides you with the right to pursue financial compensation from the seller for each day they remain beyond your possession date.

Sellers should follow through with their end of the sale contract

Ideally, the seller has minor issues preventing a move. That can happen. California has a hot real estate market, and the seller may have underestimated how long it could take to secure another property. It's also possible they changed their mind about wanting to move after closing. However, that isn't your problem.

The seller should be able to arrange alternative accommodations. Whether it's staying with family members or renting a short-term apartment, there are options available to people who sell their homes without already having a place to move.

Document everything and prepare for court if necessary

Regardless of whether or not you take possession, your lender will certainly expect you to start paying the mortgage. There's also the potential for the seller to damage the property. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a quick move. Other times, the seller may refuse to cooperate.You should document everything and prepare for the worst. If the seller does move on, you will have taken the time to ensure your rights were protected. If they don't, those documents may be able to help you stand up for your rights in court at a later date.

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Ukiah, CA 95482

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