When you buy a home, you expect the process to go smoothly. In most cases, that's exactly what will happen. But, there are times when real estate transactions go sideways. Usually those issues arise during escrow. When escrow finally closes, most people are able to move right into their new home. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Sometimes, the seller refuses to move out of the house after the close of escrow. If that's what you're facing right now, you need to take steps to rectify the situation. If the sellers have refused to vacate your home now that escrow has closed, here are four steps you need to take right away.
Read the Contract
Now that the sellers have turned into a holdover, and have refused to leave the house, you've got to read the contract. There may be a clause in the contract that authorizes them to remain on the property for additional days. If that's the case, you'll need to give them the time they've been allotted. But, if your contract shows that the sellers were to vacate the home at the close of escrow, you'll need to take the next steps.
Contact Your Agent
If the sellers refuse to vacate the home so that you can move in, contact your agent. That's the best place to start when you're left to deal with a holdover. Your agent can go through the chain of command to help you get your home vacated. In most cases, a phone call from the listing agent should be enough to get the sellers to vacate the home. If the agent call isn't successful, move on to the next step in the process.
Withhold Escrow Funds
If escrow has closed, but the final papers haven't been signed, talk to your agent about withholding escrow funds. Before the final escrow papers are signed, you still control when the funds are transferred from the escrow account. If the sellers still refuse to vacate the home, loss of their escrow funds may speed up the process.
Hire a Real Estate Attorney
If the threat of withheld escrow funds have failed to get the sellers out of the house, or you'd already signed the final escrow papers, you need to hire an attorney from a trusted law firm immediately. Once a real estate attorney is involved, they can take the necessary legal steps to get the sellers out of your home.