You put in an offer on your dream home and it gets accepted. You’re elated. It takes a few months to get through the process — getting the mortgage, doing the inspection, etc. — but then you head to closing.
You assume that, as soon as you close on the house, it will be yours and you can move in. But is this always how it works?
What is the move-out deadline?
The biggest question is simply what the move-out deadline is in the contractual paperwork that you and the seller have to sign. That’s the deadline they have to adhere to, no matter when you close on the house.
For many people, the two days are the same. Maybe the seller already bought a new home and they live there. The house you’re buying has been empty the entire time. Odds are that you can move right in and take immediate ownership of the house.
However, maybe the seller wanted to offload the mortgage they had before buying a new house. In that case, they may set the move-out deadline a few days or weeks after closing. They want to make sure that the entire closing process goes smoothly and that the sale doesn’t fall through, and then they’ll move out.
In fact, there are also cases where the seller will ask to rent their own house from you after closing. They’ll do it on a monthly basis, as they look for a new home to buy. You don’t have to agree to this, of course, but you have to honor it if you did. The seller is counting on that time to find a new home and probably only sold to you because you said you would give them that time.
Understanding your contract
As you can see, the key is to understand the specifics of the paperwork that you signed — or that you will sign at closing. It defines your rights. Never assume anything and make sure you know what options you have if conflicts arise — if, for instance, the move-out deadline comes and goes and the sellers are still living in your new home.