What “Possession” Really Means.


By Kay Wilson-Bolton

President, Ventura County Coastal Assn of REALTORS®

Possession Dates

May 7, 2000

The Purchase Contract and Receipt for Deposit forms which are developed by REALTORS® and the legal staff of the California Association of REALTORS® have been changed again! They are now ten letter-size pages. There are numerous changes in the form, which were instituted by the Standard Forms Advisory Committee in consultation with the statewide membership.

Jeff Comstock of the Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS® serves on this State level committee.

One item that hasn’t changed and can be problematic for buyers and sellers is the “date of possession.”  How this is handled is often a matter of good and bad experiences the parties have had in the past—including the REALTOR®.

Some REALTORS® will insist that possession of a home be delivered to a buyer upon the close of escrow, while others encourage buyers to allow the seller one to three days after the close of escrow to bank their check and load the moving van.

The matter of possession dates gets tricky when it comes to tenant occupied homes.  No matter what, all tenants are entitled to a 30-day written notice to vacate. That means a notice is mailed and a notice is posted at the property.

Wise agents will encourage their sellers to give notice only upon written loan approval.  Otherwise, tenants can move and the landlord is left with a vacant property. This can be troubling should the escrow fail.

The REALTOR® representing the buyer may suggest that escrow be delayed until the property is vacant.

The conflict mounts when one party wants the escrow to close on time regardless of tenants in place, and the other wants the escrow to close only when the property is vacant.

One way to resolve this is to have the seller allow the buyer to close only upon the unit being vacant.  Another way is to have the escrow close with the seller retaining authority over the tenants and their rights to possession. If this occurs, the buyers may be entitled to fair market rents or a total of their new monthly payment.  This would be a negotiated item and should be done up front.

There is no best way to handle this situation and input from all parties is necessary.  One thing for sure is that the advice the agent gives will reflect on their knowledge and experience.  Accountability is the best bet when you engage those real estate agents who wear the Blue “R.

In your real estate activities, consider contacting a REALTOR® first. Not every real estate agent can use that name and there is a difference.  REALTORS® have subscribed to the National Code of Ethics that are clear and commanding and provide a baseline for performance.


Kay Wilson-Bolton is president of the Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS® .  For more information, contact Bob Seitz, CEO, Ventura County Coastal Assn of REALTORS® at 981.2100. Our website is http://www.vc-realtors.com




About Kay Wilson-Boltonhttp://www.kaywilsonbolton.netWith a full-time career in real estate, I can add to your bank of knowledge, not only in real estate but in many areas of life that deal with people and relationships and choices. My real estate career has taught me many lessons about planning ahead and looking forward. I believe in helping along the way so that they can be the best they can be in any situation. I serve as a Fire Department Chaplain and Coordinator for the Many Meals Project which serves homeless and hungry families in my community. The event is far more than many meals. As a result of my work with the homeless population in my community, I received the Good Neighbor Award 2017 from the National Association of Realtors and named as a Champion of Homes in 2015 by the California Association of Realtors. I make pastoral visits to the inmates in the County Jail System and offer them what God says about "all things being new" and His remarkable plan for our lives. I have served my community as Mayor and in many volunteer capacities. I serve others by serving God first. My husband is involved in prison ministry and is a graphic artist. We live a simple life in Santa Paula with an office cat named Scout, three rescued poodles and a cat named Tony Diane at home.

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