This week we are answering another question from a client who asked: “What do I do if the Seller isn’t completely moved out on the day of closing?”

Most P&S Agreements contain language that covers this situation. The P&S Agreement will usually mention that the Buyer has the right to access the property for inspections, appraisals, measurements, hiring contractors, and a final walk-through. All buyers should have a final walk-through, preferably as close to the time for closing as possible.

At a closing with Stiles Law, very often the first thing that the Buyer is asked at a closing is: “how did the walk-through go?” Most walk-throughs go well. In some cases, the buyer finds that the seller has left a considerable amount of personal property including furniture, trash, and other hard to dispose items.

Sellers: do a good job. Close enough generally isn’t good enough. We suggest to our selling clients that they may want to be completely moved out one day before closing. This means the seller isn’t moving items until the last possible second and it gives the buyer an opportunity to inspect the property.

Buyers: be reasonable. As with the right of access, the P&S Agreement covers the seller’s obligation to clean the property. Unless negotiated otherwise, the seller must leave the property in broom clean condition. Broom clean is not the same as “perfect condition.” Broom clean does not mean “professionally cleaned.” Broom clean means that the property is free of personal property, including trash, and that the property has been swept or vacuumed.

If the Seller does leave the property in less than broom clean condition, what should the buyer do? We always recommend that our buyers take pictures to show to the seller’s attorney and broker. This really is a situation where a picture is worth a thousand words. If there aren’t many items or you feel confident taking on responsibility for removing them, the closing can proceed. Another common option is to sign the closing documents but hold them in escrow until the seller finishes moving their items. In severe situations, the closing can be delayed as the seller hasn’t performed what they are obligated to do under the P&S Agreement. Once the deed is recorded, the buyer owns the house and everything that is inside.

Lastly, a special note for sellers: buyers don’t want your paint. Buyers want to know what color your paint is. If you plan to leave paint, ask the buyer at the time of negotiating the P&S Agreement. If the buyer doesn’t want your paint, bring it to the dump.

If you would like more information about a final walk-through, contact Stiles Law at (781) 319-1900.

Copyright © 2019 Stiles Law, All rights reserved. Stiles Law is a Massachusetts licensed law firm and all content is based on Massachusetts law. The information presented above is meant to be used for general informational purposes and it should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts.