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How Long After Closing Can You Move In?

How Long After Closing Can You Move In

How long after closing can you move in? This question is common among first-time home buyers and is a crucial part of the house closing process. To navigate the labyrinth of the home buying procedure, it’s essential to comprehend all stages, from making an offer to finally moving in. This article will shed light on the process and answer your pressing queries.

How Soon After Closing Can You Move In?

It is not always possible to move into your new home right after closing. The average timeline might fluctuate depending on multiple factors. These factors could include agreements made during the sale, the mortgage lender‘s policies, or even the seller’s moving situation. Here, we will explore various scenarios in which the timing can differ.


In a perfect world, you would be able to move in as soon as the deal is closed. However, real estate transactions are often complex and require a fair amount of compromise. It’s important to be flexible and negotiate with the seller.

For instance, if the seller hasn’t yet secured their next home, they might request an extended move-out date. This can be negotiated as part of your purchase agreement. According to the National Association of Realtors, it’s not uncommon for buyers to agree to let sellers stay in the home for up to a week after closing.

Lease Back

A lease back agreement is another common scenario that may affect when you can move into your new home. This is a provision that allows the seller to continue living in the house after the closing process. It’s an option usually considered when the seller needs more time to move out.

With a lease back arrangement, the seller essentially becomes a tenant, often paying rent at the market rate. This can be beneficial for the buyer, as they may earn a little extra income in the interim. The specifics, like the lease term and rent amount, should be outlined in the contract.

Temporary Housing

Sometimes, a temporary housing solution can bridge the gap between closing and moving into your new home. This could be a hotel stay, short-term rental, or even staying with family or friends.

This option might be more costly and inconvenient than moving straight into your new home, but it offers a safety net if unexpected delays happen. According to a 2019 study by the Urban Institute, around 10% of home buyers choose this route, so it’s a good option to have in mind.

Closing Date vs Move-in Date

While it may seem like the closing date and the move-in date are one and the same, this is often not the case. The closing date is when the property’s ownership legally transfers from the seller to the buyer. It’s when all the closing paperwork is signed, and the buyer makes the payment.

However, the move-in date is when the buyer physically moves into the property. As we discussed earlier, the move-in date could be the same day as the closing date, but it could also be days or even weeks later. It depends on factors like seller’s move-out plans and the terms of the contract.

When Do You Get the Keys After Closing?

Receiving the keys is a significant step in the home buying journey, symbolizing the official transition from a property buyer to a homeowner. But when does this happen?

Standard Procedure

Under standard procedure, buyers typically receive the keys at the closing. This is the most common scenario, particularly if there are no stipulations or contingent in the contract that dictate otherwise. However, the exact time can vary. It could happen right after signing the paperwork, or it may be later in the day after the funds have been transferred and the transaction has been recorded at the local county recorder’s office.

Delayed Handover

Sometimes, a delayed handover of keys can occur. This might be due to a seller’s request, a leaseback situation, or if the seller is still in the process of moving out. In this case, the buyer might not receive the keys until a few days or even weeks after closing.

Conditional Handover

In a conditional handover, the keys might be handed over on the condition that certain agreed-upon tasks are completed by the seller, such as repairs or upgrades. In such cases, the buyer would only receive the keys after these tasks have been fulfilled.

Can You Move in on Closing Day?

In an ideal scenario, a buyer can move in on closing day. Once the closing process is completed, the keys are handed over, and you’re legally the owner of the house. If there are no restrictions outlined in the contract, you can start moving into your new home immediately.

However, it’s important to remember that closing day can be hectic with paperwork and other administrative tasks. Even though you legally can move in, it might be more convenient to plan the move for the day after closing.

Can You Move in Before Closing?

Moving in before closing is generally not recommended and often not allowed. The home is legally still the seller’s property until the closing is complete. Therefore, moving in early could open you up to potential legal issues.

However, in certain circumstances, an early occupancy agreement can be drawn up. This is similar to a lease back but in reverse. The buyer becomes a temporary tenant of the home until the closing is finalized. Keep in mind, this should only be considered if there’s a substantial delay in closing, and both parties agree to it.

Remember, every home purchase is unique, and there are often numerous factors that can affect these processes. It’s always advisable to consult with a real estate professional or attorney to understand your situation’s specifics.

Can You Move in Before Closing?

Moving in before closing isn’t typically recommended, as there can be significant legal implications. The property is still technically owned by the seller, and moving in early could potentially create issues such as liability for any damage that occurs. However, there are certain circumstances where an early move-in might be necessary.

The Occupancy Date in a Purchase Agreement

The occupancy date in a purchase agreement is the agreed-upon date when the buyer can take possession of the property. This is often the same day as the closing, but it can be set for a different date depending on the circumstances.

If you need to move in before the closing, it’s essential to discuss this with the seller and ensure it’s included in the purchase agreement. This early occupancy would typically involve a separate agreement, often referred to as a “rent-back” agreement, where the buyer would pay the seller rent for the time they live in the property before closing.

What To Do After Closing on a House

Once the closing is complete, the property is yours. However, there are a few important steps to take after closing cost. First, ensure you have copies of all closing documents for your records. You’ll also need to handle logistical tasks like setting up utilities, changing your address, and arranging for home insurance if you haven’t done so already.

Moreover, it’s advisable to have the locks changed for security purposes. It might also be a good idea to have the home deep cleaned before moving in your belongings, as it’s easier to do this in an empty house.

What to do When You Get the Keys to a New House?

Receiving the keys to a new house is an exciting moment. However, there are a few tasks to complete to ensure a smooth transition into your new home.

Initial Walkthrough

Once you receive the keys, the first step is to do an initial walkthrough. This will allow you to check the condition of the property, ensure all the agreed-upon repairs were made, and make a list of any updates or improvements you want to make.

Connect Utilities

Connecting utilities is another crucial step. Ensure all necessary services like electricity, water, gas, internet, and trash removal are set up and in your name.

Change Locks and Codes

For safety, consider changing the locks and any access codes. You don’t know who else might have a copy of the keys or know the existing codes, so it’s best to start fresh.

How Long After Signing Contracts Do You Get Keys?

Typically, you receive the keys to your new home at closing. However, the time between signing the contracts and closing can vary widely depending on the specific situation. The average timeline can be anywhere from 30 to 60 days but could be longer if there are any complications or issues during the closing process. Once the closing process is completed, and you’ve signed all the necessary paperwork, the keys should be handed over to you.

As an experienced professional in the mortgage loan and property market, Help individuals and families achieve their homeownership dreams.  My mission is to simplify your real estate journey and secure the best possible outcomes in this ever-changing market.

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