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Problem: Buyer wants to close before seller’s new home is finished

By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law | Jan 7, 2021

Eric Feichthaler

Dear Mr. Feichthaler,

I am in the process of building a home, which will take 3-6 months to complete, and I am selling my current home. I have a full-price offer now, but they want to close in 30 days. I don’t want to be without a home for potentially 5 months, but I really think this buyer is my best option. Besides move into a hotel for five months, what can I do?

–Terry S.

Dear Terry,

Interest rates continue to be low, and we have seen a major increase in population with the winter season. That combination has led to a lack of homes for sale, and an uptick in pricing, which led to your full-price offer.

Depending on the needs of your buyer, my first recommendation would be to have a post-occupancy agreement as part of the purchase. As part of the contract, the buyer can agree to allow you to remain in the home until your home is completed. This could be at a set rent, or rent-free, depending on what you negotiate. This gives you the best of both worlds — the comfort of knowing your house is sold, title transferred and money in your hand, while having the time to move your personal items into your new house when ready.

In the alternative, you could find a rental house that rents monthly. Although this could result in moving all of your items twice, this may be preferable to potentially having your new house finished and the old house unsold.

I wish you all the best in your new home, and a very healthy 2021.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for over 33 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continues his service to the community through the Cape Coral Caring Center, Cape Coral Historical Museum, and Cape Coral Kiwanis. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for over 20 years, and they have four children together. He earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell for professional ethics and legal ability, and is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

Mr. Feichthaler can be reached at eric@capecoralattorney.com, or (239) 542-4733.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.