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Monday, April 10, 2017

We closed and I have post-closing occupancy for a week, what’s my role now?

 Understanding the Real Estate Process from A – Z – A Seller’s Guide to Real Estate – Part 11

This is the eleventh post of a series in an FAQ format that I hope will help would be sellers better understand the real estate process that they are about to go through. There will be a follow-on series for real estate buyers.

FAQ – We closed and I have post-closing occupancy for a week, what’s my role now?
Well, one role is that you are now a renter in what used to be your home. Remember the advice that you received while you were waiting for closing and don’t do anything stupid now, like stripping stuff out of the house. You’ll just end up in a lawsuit if you do. You need to take care of the place and not cause any damage that the Buyer will have to charge you for.

Hopefully you have made your moving company arrangement well before now, but you still might have quite a bit of packing to do. You also probably still need to get rid of a bunch of stuff that you don’t want to move. Get that stuff out for trash day. The trash guys won’t like it but they will usually take most stuff. In some areas, if you are going to put something really big out for trash, like that sofa that nobody wanted, you should call the local governmental entity that controls the trash pickup contract and let them know. They may have you call the trash guys directly. 

I will assume that you talked with the new owners at closing and discussed anything that they might wish you to leave, like cans of the latest paint colors in the house or maybe even some spare lawn or patio furniture that you really don’t want to take. Don’t just leave junk behind and expect that new owners to deal with it.

You may have run by the Township Office to turn in your PRE rescission form; but, if you haven’t done that yet, get that done this week, too. You should arrange to get a final meter reading on electrical and gas and let the utilities know that you are “transitioning out” on the last day that you will be occupying the place. Get your mail forwarding set up, too. If you have cable service, you’ll need to call them and have them come out and pick up their equipment (or dish). The new owners will have to arrange that service when they move in. Let your insurance agent know that you have sold and are now renting and see if you need renter’s insurance for the time that you will remain in the house. The new owners’ policy will cover the house itself; but, it does not cover your contents in the house, should it burn down during the time that you are renting.

You should have received instructions on where to go to turn in the keys, when your occupancy is up.
There will be a form for you to fill out that acknowledges the date and time of the key turn-in. It will also have a place for you to state what you believe the condition to be at that time. There may have been a provision in the contract for a damage deposit and the return of that deposit will be based upon the agreement between you and the new owner on whether or not there was damage that was not there at closing. There may have also been a clause to allow the new owner to do a walk-through the night before you move out. The best policy is total honesty on this. If you caused damage while living there or while moving out, offer to pay to have the damage repaired. It’s far cheaper to do that than to face a law suit over the issue.

Remember that you should leave the place broom clean and not with litter or your trash everywhere. Go back to the Golden Rule and think about how you would like the place to be for you, if you were just moving in and do the right thing. If you have not yet purchased your next home, you may benefit from reading my next series of posts for Buyers. Don’t be put off by the fact that I’ve aimed those posts at first-time buyers. Most people don’t buy houses every few months; so, things change and it can feel like the first time, no matter how many houses you’ve bought in the past. 

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