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Justin K
04-27-2014, 03:16 AM
I haven't done this yet since I can't afford it, but lets say you were buying a bank owned foreclosure. Who would have the keys keys to the front door? ..and where would you pick them up after the deal?

A character in my wip arrives to their newly purchased home at 4am (4am critical to plot), because they had been driving through the night from out of state, hundreds of miles away. Would they have been mailed a key beforehand or would they have to wait till some office opens to pick it up?

alleycat
04-27-2014, 03:22 AM
If they've closed on the home and signed all the paperwork then they should already have the keys.

Karen Junker
04-27-2014, 03:51 AM
Usually the escrow office gets the keys from the seller (or the bank's rep in this case) and gives them to the buyer. If the buyer had to sign in a different place than the seller, the escrow company might mail the keys to a branch of their offices near the buyer and the buyer could pick them up when the sale has been recorded with the proper county authorities (known as the 'closing'). You don't always get them when you sign, you get them when the sale has been recorded (can happen later that day or the next day or two).

Mutive
04-27-2014, 04:05 AM
When I purchased my house (which was a foreclosure), my real estate agent gave me the keys after the paperwork was cleared, the deal was finalized, etc.

Justin K
04-27-2014, 04:09 AM
Thank you for the input, I just wanted to make sure I was writing a plausible scenario

alleycat
04-27-2014, 04:20 AM
Karen does have a point. Sometimes someone can move in right after the closing; at other times there can be a short wait, especially if the previous owner has to move.

If there's a wait to get the keys I suspect the real estate agent(s) will make arrangements for the buyer to get the keys at the appropriate time.

Book Fiend
04-27-2014, 05:36 AM
I was in the real estate business off and on for about 21 years. My mother and husband were both brokers and owned their own companies. I was an agent/office manager at some point, off and on, during those years. One of the big things I did was track escrows. First, yes, signing escrow documents doesn't mean it's closing that day. Especially since many people will combine signing final loan docs (that also get recorded) at the same time. After loan docs, funding takes a while. I have not ever been a party to a transaction in which funding occurred over a weekend. When we closed our house, we asked the bank to fund over the weekend and they declined.

Often after the final walkthrough- which is the last inspection that is done- the seller's/bank's agent will pull the electronic lockbox. This is because they do not want people to access the house and move in before recordation. Which has happened. When/if possession occurs before the house has legally changed hands, there are insurance issues. Also, if for some reason the house does not close and the people do not move out, it creates tenancy. (Tenants at sufference) In general if the buyer's agent and seller's agent know each other, the selling agent will leave the lockbox up and the buyer's agent will remove the keys when the house legally changes ownership. If the agent declines the owner or agent would pick it up at the selling agent's office. In a situation where the owner is out of town and not coming in until 4 am, the buyer's agent would normally put the keys in a mechanical lockbox and give the owners the combination.

GingerGunlock
04-27-2014, 05:46 AM
Our house was not a foreclosure, but we got the keys at signing. Any prior visits made (with the real estate agent, for the inspection, etc.) whoever was on the "sale side" had the keys.

Book Fiend
04-27-2014, 06:05 AM
It also depends on where you're from. I noticed that Ginger is from NY, which is a lien theory (of ownership) state, I believe. Which is the common form of ownership on the east coast. I noticed that Justin is on Catalina Island, so I assumed his novel was set in the west. Pretty much the whole west is based on title theory. Which means that if you live in the east coast, in a lien theory state, you the homeowner own your home and your mortgage company has a lien on it. Kind of like buying a car with a note, you own the car, the loan company has a lien. In a title theory state, you don't techinically completely "own" your house until it's paid off. You get a deed of trust in which there is a sort of "dual" ownership. (Not really, but I don't know how else to describe it. Your mortgage company is a trustee to the deed of trust.)

I think the big exception to these two types would be exclusively in Hawaii which is technically a lien theory state. Which makes sense, given its history. However, all deeds get recorded in Land Court and the state, in essence, guarantees title. So, customs and practices differ based on law.

King Neptune
04-27-2014, 06:51 PM
It also depends on where you're from. I noticed that Ginger is from NY, which is a lien theory (of ownership) state, I believe. Which is the common form of ownership on the east coast. I noticed that Justin is on Catalina Island, so I assumed his novel was set in the west. Pretty much the whole west is based on title theory. Which means that if you live in the east coast, in a lien theory state, you the homeowner own your home and your mortgage company has a lien on it. Kind of like buying a car with a note, you own the car, the loan company has a lien. In a title theory state, you don't techinically completely "own" your house until it's paid off. You get a deed of trust in which there is a sort of "dual" ownership. (Not really, but I don't know how else to describe it. Your mortgage company is a trustee to the deed of trust.)


In Massachusetts and all of New England , a mortgage is a purchase of the property with "mortgage covenants". Mortgage covenants are a lien, but can be converted to fee simple, if the conditions are not met. In effect, the mortgage is a conditional purchase, but the keys usually are handed over at the closing. A closing is the completion of the purchase and sales contract, where the deal is finally and completely closed.

WeaselFire
04-30-2014, 06:16 AM
A character in my wip arrives to their newly purchased home at 4am (4am critical to plot), because they had been driving through the night from out of state, hundreds of miles away. Would they have been mailed a key beforehand or would they have to wait till some office opens to pick it up?
My agent left the keys under the second step on the deck. The house before that they were on a hook in the car port. If your plot requires that they arrive at 4 am and have keys, have them sent to the buyer. If the plot requires they not have keys, just don't let them have the keys.

Jeff

frimble3
04-30-2014, 08:56 AM
I don't know how a bank foreclosure works, but how long has the place been sitting empty, are the utilities on, and is it still furnished?

I'm thinking unless they've been really clear on the condition of the house, or have a local contact to prepare things for them, that 4 AM arrival could be a cold and miserable time. Do they at least have clean sheets and basic food supplies? And lightbulbs, even if the previous occupants left the lightbulbs (not a guaranteed thing) bright high-wattage bulbs can cheer a place up (or at least show you what not to touch.)

Justin K
04-30-2014, 10:53 AM
I don't know how a bank foreclosure works, but how long has the place been sitting empty, are the utilities on, and is it still furnished?

I'm thinking unless they've been really clear on the condition of the house, or have a local contact to prepare things for them, that 4 AM arrival could be a cold and miserable time. Do they at least have clean sheets and basic food supplies? And lightbulbs, even if the previous occupants left the lightbulbs (not a guaranteed thing) bright high-wattage bulbs can cheer a place up (or at least show you what not to touch.)

Well, my story omits almost all the details about the actual acquiring of the house except that is was a vacant house, and foreclosed, but it's a just a matter of how believable the situation is. I didn't want people to read it and think it was unlikely, which ..I don't think it is.

It's basically two characters that had been driving (car and moving truck) from so far across the country, that they really could not foresee the actual arrival time. They opt to get there late instead of staying at another hotel. I know power and utilities could be scheduled to be activated prior to arrival, I just wasn't sure that they could have received keys in advance my mail, like if there was some legal reason. But it's such a tangent topic to the story that I'm starting to think I don't need to worry.

I appreciate all of the insight from everyone it has helped me make sure I can develop the scene without throwing in any nonsense.

cmhbob
04-30-2014, 11:45 AM
If the utilities have been off for a while (likely on a foreclosure), the utility companies might require someone to be on premises to turn them back on, so they can verify that the main breaker to the house is off (happened to me in SE Ohio), and to check the pilot lights in any gas appliances.

Not sure if/how that affects your key situation, but thought I'd toss it out there.

Cathy C
04-30-2014, 01:52 PM
In a lot of HUD foreclosures, multiple realtors need to have access to the house. Often, the listing realtor will put a lockbox on the front door (http://www.zoro.com/g/00067625/k-G2885425?utm_source=google_shopping&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Google_Shopping_Feed&kpid=G2885425&gclid=CKOg3NL3h74CFS8V7AoduWoA7Q)that has the key inside, so all that a selling realtor needs is the combination to the box. The realtor just gives the combination to the buyer, and asks that the buyer keep the lockbox safe until the realtor can pick it up. That would solve your problem of the time of day, because lockboxes stay on HUD houses for months. They're sturdy puppies and withstand abuse really well.

It's also good for momentary tension in the book if they can't find where they wrote down the combination. ;)

WeaselFire
05-01-2014, 08:54 PM
The realtor just gives the combination to the buyer...
Not if they ever want to sell another house. At or before closing that lockbox has to be removed and a realtor only gives the code to other licensed realtors.

Closings are done by mail/FedEx all the time and keys are shipped to the buyers, if that's their preference. Of course, the story is what drives the delivery anyway.

Jeff