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Why did our buying agent give us the keys before the seller signed the closing documents?

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May 28 2012 - US
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Agents are not suppose to provide the buyer with keys until the transaction has (1) funded and (2) recorded as a public record that the buyer is the new owner on title. 
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July 22 2012
Giving the keys before closing has closed is not suppose to happen and can spell trouble for the agent that handed over the keys.  If the closing happened and the out of state sellers were suppose to sign but didn't it still hasn't closed.  Perhaps a pre-possession should of been signed to give the buyers the right to move into the property so the buyers could move in on time and give the sellers time to sign the closing documents. 
Good luck. 
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July 19 2012
Thanks for the update! It's always nice to know the outcome to postings.
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July 12 2012
Profile picture for dactulwench1
Yes, we are past needing advice (thankfully), but I do thank everyone for their responses.  I really needed a piece of mind at the time this was going on.  Everything turned out alright in the end, at least for us, not so much for my realtor. 

I understand that the sellers were FURIOUS, and demanded a meeting with my realtor on the next available business day when they came into town.  They lived out of state and had come in over a long weekend, not prepared to sign the closing documents until the next business day, 4 days after we signed.  So, when they met with him they demanded him to pay them $2500 dollars.  It is my understanding that he didn't pay the full $2500, but did pay another smaller sum out of his commission to keep them from reporting him I suppose....although I'll never know for sure. 

Regardless, we never had contact with the sellers, and they didn't show up with the police, so I am happy.  We LOVE our new home, even if the first four days were spoiled because we were put in a bad position by our agent. 
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July 12 2012
Keys are NEVER given out before recorded. Your Buyers Agent did a "No-No"
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July 12 2012
Profile picture for SoCal_Engr
#1 - I'm guessing the OP has already moved well past needing any more answers to this question. It's now mid-July. The OP was moving in back in May.

#2 - I'm guessing some folks are not reading through the thread, just looking at the original post and shooting from the hip. Hint: At least scan the other posts.

#3 - From the seller's perspective, the answers would be...
    1 - Because the REA is an idiot.
    2 - Because the REA doesn't have your best interests in mind.

#4 - On the plus side, the seller is unlikely to do anything, other than to note the date of possession and back off of any further dealings with the property (other than getting their check).

When I was selling a house, there were several small issues the buyers wanted addressed. They were a major PITA, but I went back after we had cleared out the house to take care of these issues (mostly cosmetic) for the buyer.

And? As I pulled into the driveway, the buyers were moving their stuff into the garage. Their REA was there with a stupid grin on their face like "isn't this great?" Escrow was not due to close for several days, and there were still some paperwork for us to sign.

I called my REA and explained the situation, and informed him of all the things the buyers had put into the sales agreement (and, which I had agreed to) that would now not be done. With the buyers in the premises, I was not willing to take any chances on being blamed for damage to their possessions (which seemed a good enough reason to me to get out of a weekend's worth of nit-picky touch-ups). I then notified the buy-side REA that since he had allowed his clients to take possession of the property (he had gotten a set of keys and had let them in), he could also inform them that I was done.

The buyers were not happy, but I had pics of them moving in and had made a point of noting with both REAs of the date/time the buyers assumed possession of the property.
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July 12 2012
No keys are given out, at least in Florida, until all parties have signed the closing documents and funds are received by the title company.  
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July 12 2012
I'm guessing your agent handed you the keys at final walk through? 
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July 12 2012
In our area Buyers dont sign until the Sellers are done first. No problems then...
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June 26 2012
You were not supposed to have received the keys until the sellers had signed the documents and they have been  received by the title company.  The timetable of the sellers signing should have been communicated to both agents and the title company.  Hopefully, all will be OK, but your agent acted premarturely.
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May 28 2012
Your agent screwed up. You shouldn't have been given the keys until the sellers signed the closing documents. Minnesota is a 'table closing' state where buyers and sellers meet around a table at closing (unless they're out of town in which case they can assign a proxy). The very last thing that is done is the buyers agent hands the keys to the new owner.

The reason you don't get keys until closing is the buyer ends up assuming liability for a home they do not yet own. And if something happens to the home, it could become the buyers liability (and not their insurers liability).

Personally, i wouldn't worry about the sellers reneging on the deal. Most sellers (especially ones that have moved out) are happy to be done and be out. Any issues should be handled by your agent and not you.
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May 28 2012
Profile picture for wetdawgs
Thanks for providing the background. 

Your agent made a mistake, a serious mistake IMHO (I'm not an agent).  Hopefully there will not be any ramifications for you, but I would notify both your agent and the agent's broker that this occurred and is not okay.   (You can also report the agent to the licensing board.)

Different states have different rules about when the buyer takes possession, but I am not aware of any states where this can occur before both buyer and seller have signed the closing documents (without special agreement).  In some states, the money must actually have cleared.

Good luck




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May 28 2012
Profile picture for dactulwench1
Sorry for the lack of explantion, wetdawgs. Here's our story: We signed all closng documents and presented all settlement monies on friday. The lady from the title company said the closing docs had been emailed to the selling agent (the sellers live out of town), and that the sellers were going to sign the documents that afternoon and get them back to the title company. She casually asked when we were moving in, and I said I didn't know because we didn't know when we were getting keys. Our Realtor then slid the keys to us and told us we could start today. I even commented about being nervous in case everything wasn't finalized, but he assured me everything was okay. So Saturday my husband and I break our backs getting everything moved in, since it was a long weekend, and stayed in the house that night thinking everything is wonderful. Last night, Sunday, I get a call at 930 pm from my Realtors saying that the selling agent called and chewed him out because we were already moving in when the sellers have still not signed the closing docs!!! He said not to worry about it that he just wanted us to know what was going on in case she showed up at the house. I asked him what we should do and he said we could just stay at the house. So here we are, with all of large items and valuables moved into a home that we just found out isn't ours yet. I'm scared to death that something bad is going to happen. All utilities are in our name already, and we haven't changed anything in the house. My husband and I both have to work tomorrow so if they tell us we have to go were going to be hard-pressed to get everything back out.
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May 28 2012
Profile picture for wetdawgs
I find that reading between the lines for another person's actions tends to get me in trouble more often than not, therefore, I tend to go direct to the source.  Did you ask the buying agent the question?   Perhaps it was convenient, but you weren't supposed to take possession until the money had transferred hands.   Perhaps they were having a bad day and goofed. 

Let us know what the agent says.
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May 28 2012
 
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