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What happens when a seller doesn't move out of your new home?

The current real estate market is unquestionably a seller's market. There's so much demand for properties around Colorado that home prices have gone up. At the same time, units for sale and available units for rent have decreased, making it easy for sellers to set their own price and terms when it comes to a sale. If you were lucky enough to find a home you wanted and submit an accepted purchase offer, you probably thought the hard part was over.

Unfortunately, listing on a seller's market can come back to haunt overzealous sellers. The person who agreed to sell you the house may now find that there isn't a new home in his or her price range. In some cases, sellers may not even be able to find rental units nearby for a temporary solution. That could leave you, the buyer, with a mortgage on a property that you have yet to take possession of. When that happens, you'll probably have to go to court.

Pushing back the date of possession

It is quite common these days for sellers to request anywhere from 30 to 90 days past the signing before the buyer can take possession. As a buyer, that time allows you to pack, plan your move and even start deciding where your furniture and other possessions belong in your new home.

For the seller, the time provides a chance to find a new home, whether it's a rental or a home for sale. It also allows for packing and moving. Unfortunately, if your seller doesn't have a new place to go at the end of that period, it's possible that he or she may simply not move out of the home in question.

When you made your offer, you probably never thought you'd be in this situation. You may not have included a clause that charges the seller a flat rate per diem beyond the agreed upon possession date. Even if you do, the seller may refuse to pay it or provide an exact date when you can finally take possession of your home. In the meantime, the first payment on your mortgage keeps getting closer. If discussing the issue with the seller hasn't led to a reasonable resolution, you may need to take legal action.

As the buyer, you have contractual rights to the property

Once you execute documents for the purchase, from signing the instrument for your mortgage to signing the deed for your new home, the sale is official. Both your signed offer and the sale documents serve as a contract that outlines your rights under the law. When a seller refuses to leave the property, that imposes on your right of quiet enjoyment of the property.

Without legal action, you have no way of knowing how long the seller could stay in the house. If you find that one or more contractual conditions from a recent home purchase were not upheld by the seller, you may need to take steps to protect your rights.

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