When do I get the keys to my new house?

This is a frequently asked question at the closing table. The Standard Offer to Purchase and Contract in North Carolina states possession does not transfer to the new owners until the deed is recorded at the Register of Deeds office in the county where the property is located.

If the sellers deliver the keys to our law office, we have a duty to hold them until such time as the deed is recorded.

What happens if the keys are not delivered to the closing attorney’s office?

Often times, the seller’s agent will give the keys to the buyer’s agent to then give to their client. This is done prior to the closing or at the closing.

If the buyer takes possession of the property before the deed is recorded (meaning seller still legally owns it), the seller could expose himself to personal injury claims and damages to the property caused by the Buyer.

A seasoned seller’s agent will wait to deliver the keys until the deed is recorded.

Still, in a majority of cases, the keys have been delivered to the Buyer prior to the closing. This often happens when the Buyer is persistent about having access to the property as soon as possible for movers to deliver furniture or contractors to perform work. Some Sellers are not aware of the legal issues that can arise if the keys are exchanged prior to recording.

Although Hutchens Law Firm strives to record as quickly as possible, there are several requirements that must be met prior to sending the documents to the Register of Deeds. Often times, the lender involved in the transaction requires funding approval. This means that all signed documents must be presented to the lender for approval before submitting the deed/deed of trust for recording. We must also receive all of the money related to the purchase of the home. Lastly, we must update the title a final time before submitting documents to the Register of Deeds.

Published on March 19, 2020