A holdover home seller is a seller that continues to occupy the house after the buyer has closed on the property. 

How Can I Avoid a Holdover Home Seller?

The best way for a home buyer to avoid a situation where the seller refuses to move out is to include a holdover penalty provision in the contract.  These provisions penalize the home seller for failing to close the property by the stated closing date. 

Once the holdover penalty provision is included in the contract, the buyer should inspect the house the day before the date of expected closing.  If the seller is still occupying the house, the buyer should push back the date of expected closing until after the seller has moved out.  This will force the seller to honor the expected closing date.  Otherwise, the buyer can sue to enforce the penalty provisions in the contract. 

Buyers should also be aware of "rent back" provisions in the contract that give a seller the right to remain in the house for a short amount of time after closing.  Some sellers may take advantage of "rent back" provision and stay for longer than the stated period. 

It is important to realize that the buyer is in the best position to ensure the seller vacates the house before closing on the property.  After closing, because the title of the house transfers to the buyer, it may take more extreme means to get rid of a holdover home seller.

How Can I Get Rid of a Holdover Home Seller?

If title to the property has been transferred, you may have to give the holdover home seller an additional fee as incentive to move out.  Or, you may be able to evict the holdover home seller under your state’s eviction laws. 

Do I Need a Real Property Attorney?

If you concerned about a possible holdover homeowner situation, speak to an experienced real estate attorney regarding the best way to draw up the contract to purchase the house.  If you already have a holdover home owner on your hands, contact a real estate attorney immediately to learn your rights and take possession of your property.