Give Me The Keys! (Getting The Keys To Your New Washington Home!)

Congratulations, you are almost there! The home buying process can be a stressful one, and sometimes a long one, so it is perfectly normal that you might want to get it over with as soon as possible! The ultimate goal, the finish line, if you will, is getting those coveted keys so that you can begin moving in to your new home! So, the real question is, when are you gonna get those keys? Today, we will try to answer that question for you!

The "rules" in Washington State say that for the new owner to get possession of the home that they are buying that the transaction must be "closed". If you want to get really technical, the NWMLS contracts that are normally used in real estate transactions say that the seller has until 9pm on the day of closing to have all of their belongings out of the house. That rule is in place so that the seller can finish moving out and tying up any loose ends on the day of closing. So, remember, you might close at 9am, or noon, or 2pm, but you still don't "technically" HAVE to get possession of the home until 9pm on the date of closing!

A lot of people have been given misinformation as to what closing actually is. Most people think that closing is the signing of the contract. This is not actually true. The signing of the documents can take place days before the official closing on the property does. The signing of the documents and the money being transferred to the escrow company is not closing. It is simply "signing". The closing is actually something else entirely, that not many people understand. The closing of the property is when the deed is actually recorded at the county recorder's office. The purpose of this is to make an official record of the sale listing you as the new owner of the property and taking the property officially off the market. When the deed is recorded at the county recorder's office, and only then, is when the actual closing of the property occurs. Some counties have a website where you can check the status of the recording of the deed, or even watch it in real time! Ask your agent if your county has something like this available where you live.

Now, there are exceptions to the "only at closing" rule. Sometimes you may get your keys before that, sometimes you might have to wait until after. As you will learn in the home buying process, many different things depend on you being flexible, and things do not always go according to plan. Usually you will discuss this with the seller and have a plan for possession of the house already in place when you sign the contract. Sometimes the seller may need a few extra days in the house, or sometimes the buyer is in a situation where they have to move in early. You just have to be flexible and work around the needs of the other party. Usually, your agent will not advocate for early or late possession. There is a reason that everything needs to be done by the book.

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All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.