How a home seller should prepare for possession day

Don’t kill the climax.

For a home buyer, possession day should be a fun and exciting experience.

There are always a lot of moving parts and things can happen, but this works best when everyone concerned does what they can to make it as pleasant as possible.

I’ve noticed a growing number of possession day issues lately. I think it’s probably related to the fact that many sellers have had to sell at a loss. Perhaps they let a little bitterness creep in, and that gets directed at the buyer.

Maybe they justify taking a fixture that they shouldn’t remove because “the buyer got a good deal”. Maybe they leave garbage and other crap at the house when they leave or fail to give the place a good cleaning.

Please remember, it’s not the buyer's fault that the market fell. In fact, they came along and cleared the way for you to move into the next chapter of your life without the burden of having to manage a home that you can live it.

Wrap this up properly and honourably.

Don’t kill the climax.


I was talking to a colleague of mine the other day about what we both perceive to be a growing number of possession day problems. Buyer shows up not happy with what they found.

And we surmised that this is likely happening because so many sellers have been selling their home at a loss. The market's been moving down for four or five years. They need to get out and move elsewhere, and they're having to sell for less than they paid for it. And our human minds are really built for rationalization. And it's so easy to come to the conclusion that hey, this buyer got a good deal, and they should be happy with this house just the way it is.

But you know, that's not the right way to look at it. It's not the buyer's fault that the market fell and your investment is worth less today. They actually paid you market value for it, and you should treat them that way.

So how should you prepare for a possession date so that your buyer's experience ends in a good way?

Number one, don't take anything that you shouldn't take out of the house. If it's attached to the property, it's a fixture and it's expected to be there, and if it's not, the buyer is going to be disappointed. And it may even lead to a legal issue.

Secondly, do take everything that isn't attached, unless you have an explicit agreement for it to remain. A buyer is not interested in your grandma's old deep freeze or cans of paint that haven't been open for 15 years, or little bits of two by four that are laying around in your garage. Hire a hauler and get that stuff out of there, please, so that it's empty for their move.

And finally, clean the house as if you would if you were moving in, so, you know, washing out cabinets, cleaning the bathroom, cleaning up the floor. Create an environment where the buyer can begin to move right away and enjoy the home. They did relieve you of this financial responsibility and allow you to move on to where you're going next.


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Norm Fisher

Royal LePage Vidorra


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