No doubt some of your buyers have wanted to move into their new home before the home is officially theirs. This is an absolute NO-NO and it’s your job as your buyers’ agent to tell them so.

Why? Moving in before the official close is a recipe for disaster and unnecessary risks. Here are six reasons you as an agent should NEVER allow your buyers to have access to “their” house before it’s officially theirs.

  1. Murphy’s Law
    1. Real estate agents know better than anyone that in real estate, anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
    2. Belongings can disappear or get damaged.
    3. Something that worked just fine during the home inspection will break or leak today.
  2. Liability
    1. Without a written pre-occupancy/lease agreement plus insurance coverage for both the buyer and seller, seller becomes liable for any damage that occurs.
    2. Scratches on the floor
    3. Floods/fires
    4. Jammed ice maker
  3. Never-ending walk-through
    1. With each check, recheck, test, the buyer is sure to find fault in something they didn’t notice before.
  4. Improvements/repairs
    1. It’s nearly impossible to keep buyers from making improvements/repairs and the seller is responsible for those changes.
    2. Paint can spill on the floor.
    3. A contractor can fall off a ladder.
    4. A landscape person hired by the buyers can whack off a sprinkler head and the water bill will soar.
  5. Buyer’s remorse
    1. Buyers sometimes look for reasons not to buy.
    2. Maybe another similar property will come to market with a reduced price.
    3. There is a possibility the buyer will lose her/his earnest money.
    4. There is a possibility the agent will lose his/her marketing costs, time and days on the market.
  6. Closing problems
    1. What if the buyer is denied a loan and can’t close while already living in the house?
    2. How does the seller get the supposed buyer out of the house?
    3. What if the supposed buyer left the house in horrible condition and the seller has to make unnecessary repairs, clean the house again and/or re-prep the house for sale?
    4. What about transferring utilities, mail delivery, pool service, etc. AGAIN?

If there is no alternative to the supposed buyers not moving into the house prior to closing, make sure that both the buyers and the sellers have legal representation to hammer out the what-if scenarios.