I recently was involved last minute in a real estate closing for an agent that works for our office. Our agent called me at the closing table to say their was a problem with the closing. The home seller was not moved out and house was not cleaned to meet terms of the Massachusetts Purchase and Sale Agreement.
This is an issue I run into once in awhile with home sellers, no matter how much I push, home sellers will occasionally leave junk behind, are still in the middle of moving or have left the property in shambles by the time of closing.
As a home seller under contract to sell your home, you are opening yourself up for a problem at the closing table, which will usually cost you way more money then it should. You are responsible to perform in a certain manner and may be liable for damages that result or you give your home buyers an opportunity to walk away from the real estate closing with no recourse to them.
Now, usually, we close on the property and things get worked out, but at the sellers expense. And trust me when I say, no one is shopping the best house cleaner or cheapest junk removal guy on your behalf. It’s who can get the job done the quickest. There is a national chain that responds very quickly to these calls because they do a lot of insurance work and they are available 24/7. While they respond very quickly they can be triple what it would cost the local guy to take care of the work. Lets face it if you are defaulted at the closing table the buyers have you between a rock and a hard spot.
Massachusetts homeowners doing a short sale also need to remember they are bound by the same contract. You may lose your short sale approval and your home to foreclosure if you do not get your home closed on time.
What might you have to pay?
- Have a junk removal company remove all unwanted debris- This means everything. Do not leave anything unless you have cleared it with the buyers.
- Cleaning services- The terms of the contract will spell out what condition the house should be left in.
- Storage of the buyers belongings while they await being able to enter the home. Movers quote based on expecting a certain amount of time. Anything above and beyond they will be charging by the hour. You could also incur the loading and unloading of truck if the moving company cannot leave the items on the truck.
- Paying for the buyer’s hotel stay awaiting for entry into the home. It will also be your responsibility to pay any housing costs that the buyer’s have incurred.
I know moving is a real pain. It is something I hate to do. But, coordinate your move, leaving plenty of extra time for error. I personally think you should be completely moved out the day before your closing. While it may cost more money, it ultimately beats paying out thousands to a buyer. Also, if you are doing back to back closings (selling a house and buying a new one) you run the risk of defaulting on your purchase.
This is an excerpt from a standard purchase and sale that we use and will see similar verbage in most purchase and sale contracts.
Possession And Condition Of Premises. At the time for performance the SELLER shall give the BUYER possession of the entire Premises, free of all occupants and tenants and of all personal property, except property included in the sale or tenants permitted to remain. At the time for performance the Premises also shall comply with the requirements of paragraph 6, and be broom clean and in the same condition as the Premises now are, reasonable wear and tear excepted, with the SELLER to have performed all maintenance customarily undertaken by the SELLER between the date of this agreement and the time for performance, and there shall be no outstanding notices of violation of any building, zoning, health or environmental law, bylaw, code or regulation, except as agreed. The BUYER shall have the right to enter the Premises within forty-eight (48) hours prior to the time for performance or such other time as may be agreed and upon reasonable notice to SELLER for the purpose of determining compliance with this paragraph. At the time of recording of the deed, or as otherwise agreed, the SELLER shall deliver to BUYER all keys to the Premises, garage door openers and any security codes. Until delivery of the deed, The SELLER shall maintain fire and extended coverage insurance on the Premises in the same amount as currently insure.
So sellers, to save your self aggravation and money at the closing table:
- Don’t leave every can of paint you have ever used as well as every household chemical you can’t get rid of for the buyer.
- Don’t leave unwanted debris left over from construction projects in your basement, garage, under the deck or elsewhere.
- Don’t leave unwanted appliances. Only leave what was agreed upon.
- Make sure you are completely out of the house prior to the agreed upon closing time, give yourself extra time as movers are late or underestimate the time to move you out.
- Leave time to run a vacuum, sweep and do a light dusting.
If you are starting to feel overwhelmed with preparing for a move, don’t be afraid to ask your real estate agent for contacts for movers, packers, organizers, junk removal, house cleaners and so on….
I have had a relationship with a junk removal company for years. I have used them both personally and have referred them to clients. I am constantly amazed with how little they charge and how quickly they can get a rmoval done saving me or my clients countless hours of work.
Home sellers be prepared to move on time or it may cost you in the end!!
This post, Massachusetts Home Sellers Be Prepared to Close on Time? was provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate in Tewksbury Massachusetts. Kevin can be reached at anytime by 978-360-0422 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are thinking of buying or selling Real Estate in Massachusetts, contact Kevin for your free consultation. Make your next real estate transaction a smooth transaction.
Serving the Real Estate needs of Northeast Massachusetts, Merrimack Valley, North Shore and Metrowest including the following communities and the surrounding areas, Amesbury, Andover, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groveland, Haverhill, Lowell, Merrimac, Methuen, North Andover, North Reading, Reading, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Wilmington, Westford