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Homeowning quandary: The Bad Beginning

A few days ago we signed closing papers for a house. Yesterday our escrow people confirmed everything was complete and the place was ours. Last night we drove over there, hoping to get a hold of our realtor and get the keys and walk into Our New House, just to look around and start dreaming of paint colors.

Imagine our confusion to find the lights were still on, the doors were open, an old truck was backed into the driveway, and one of the previous owners was directing some guys carrying stuff out of the house. Yes: They were still moving out. They were nowhere near done. It looked, in fact, as if they had just gotten started. We made some small talk and introductions with the woman, who was cheerful and seemingly oblivious as to their obligation to actually be out of the house by this time.

Being nice and non-confrontational people, we excused ourselves and wandered aside and called our realtor, who was not amused with the other team. He told us to get a key from the old owners, and figure out what was going on; and meanwhile he would leave a seriously unpleasant message for their realtor (who apparently neglected to make his clients understand that they actually had to, you know, vacate the premises by Friday). We got a key from Mrs. Oblivious, and decided, what the hell; we weren't going to get much done Friday night anyway, so we would come back Saturday morning. They swore they'd have the house cleared out by then, and would just have the outbuilding to clean out--which they would do over the weekend. Okay, fine, if you must. The house is the important part anyway.

So this morning we drive back over there. No one is around this time (they said they had to work Saturday), but:
a) The key Mrs. Oblivious gave us does not work, and
b) A look into the windows, and around the yard, indicates pretty clearly that they are not done clearing out. In fact, their stuff is still everywhere.

Today, we are not so inclined to be nice. This isn't just "kind of" our house. We aren't in a legal twilight period where it's "partially" ours and partially theirs. No. This is completely, legally, totally our house now--and we can't get into it and their stuff is all over the place. Our realtor has been unreachable today, but I'm sure he will have some choice words for them and their team, which I can't wait to hear. In the meantime I ask you...

Poll #388622 Homeowning quandary: The Bad Beginning

What should we do?

Get all the locks changed, without informing the previous owners
Have someone move all their stuff out and take it to their new place, and send them the bill
Charge them rent for the days they still have stuff in the house
Hack their realtor's website so it displays porn with his face on it
Obtain mob connections and apply some real "pressure"
Shrug it off, wait it out, and go do something fun - what's one weekend, right?

Other suggestions welcome in the comments. There's actually even more to the unprofessionalism and tackiness of these previous owners, but I'm too polite and disgusted to go into right now.



Nov. 21st, 2004 02:24 am (UTC)
What a pain in the ass for you!
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Although options 4 and 5 are tempting and options 1 and 2 seem righteous, I would go with Door # 3...which is your legal right. You own the place, they are residing in it, they owe you rent. Plus compensation for your incovenience.

Your realtor should be the one to do the dirty work; that's part of his job. And if, after they do get their stuff out, the place is a mess, hire a cleaning service and send the bill to THEIR realtor. He is obviously not doing HIS job.

DO NOT, by any means, go with the last option. Possession is 9/10 and all that. Get in there ASAP and make it as uncomfortable and inconvenient as possible for the previous owners to stay.
Nov. 21st, 2004 02:50 am (UTC)
Re: What a pain in the ass for you!
Rent was indeed the most tempting option to me at first. Then I wondered: would that put us in a landlord/tenant position? If so, that isn't quite what I want, because tenants have certain rights and things they can legally expect from their landlords, and, naturally, we owe them nothing at all beyond the purchase price. Such rights probably wouldn't apply, since we signed no agreements with each other--but by the same token, it could be hard to make them pay it without taking it to small claims court. (Which I really don't want to do.)

But, yes: our realtor has been very good so far and should be able to work something for us. This is all so stupid. Ugh.

Normally-mild-mannered husband is now ranting about going over there tomorrow, while the owners are around clearing out their crap, and ripping up the carpet and throwing the old furnishings out before their eyes. "Here, take this with you--it's horrible. And that paint is ugly. Who chose that? You?" :)