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keyIf you are selling your Silicon Valley home, there’s a good chance that at close of escrow you’ll become a renter in your former home for a month or two.

As a renter, you of course have a landlord.  And landlords have keys to the property you occupy.

Some listing agents and some home sellers do not realize that providing a set of keys to the buyers at the close of escrow is the norm.  Not only is it the norm, it’s in the California Association of Realtors or CAR purchase agreement.  (If you are buying or selling real estate, you really do need to read what you’re signing!)

Here’s the “chapter and verse” from the CAR contract

Contract Paragraph 9F (RPA page 11 / 14)
At Close Of Escrow, unless otherwise agreed in writing, Seller shall provide keys, passwords, codes and/or means to operate all locks, mailboxes, security systems, alarms, home automation systems and intranet and Internet-connected devices included in the purchase price, and garage door openers.”

Also see paragraph 17 of the rent back agreement, which adds that if the tenant re-keys the property, tenant must provide copy to landlord (buyer):

If Tenant re-keys existing locks or opening devices, Tenant shall immediately deliver copies of all keys to Landlord. Tenant shall pay all costs and charges related to loss of any keys or opening devices. Tenant may not remove locks, even if installed by Tenant.”

Listing agents and home sellers need to talk about this ahead of time so that they are prepared to part with keys at the time when the sale is completed.  Not to worry, nervous sellers, there are lots of protections for you and your peace & quiet.  You will find those listed in the contract paperwork, too.

For more reading on this topic:

Seller rent back after close of escrow: what do you need to know?

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