Buying · Real Estate · Selling

"Closing" vs. "Possession"

Whether buying or selling a home, your moving date will be an important consideration. Also called the “possession date,” it is one of the items that is negotiated and included in the contract of sale.

Possession dates are most often established in relation to the “closing date,” the date on which the purchase money is paid and the title transfers to the purchasers. In a contract, the possession date may read “upon transfer of title and disbursement of funds,” or merely “at closing.”

Is possession always given at closing? Not necessarily. Remember, it is negotiable. It can be whatever date is acceptable to both buyers and sellers. The possession date may be “fourteen days after closing,” or “seven days prior to closing.” Notice that possession is still relative to the closing date.

If possession occurs on any date other than at closing, a short-term occupancy agreement should be prepared. It should include the amount of any rent to be paid, what happens
if the sale is not consummated, who is responsible for damage or needed repairs during the lease, etc.

All agreements related to possession should be in writing. Any changes made after the contract has been signed should also be reduced to writing and signed by all parties.

PDF Download: “Closing” vs. “Possession”

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