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When Do You Get Your Keys on the Closing of a Real Estate Purchase?

By sedoo

Whether it is a first-time purchase or the 20th purchase of a home, a person will usually have the same question for their real estate lawyer. When am I getting my keys?

If only we were able to book a specific time for when keys will be ready on closing. But alas, real estate closings are not so simple. There are several factors that go into the completion of a real estate transaction. Until the deal is actually closed, lawyers cannot release the keys they hold in escrow (or codes for the lockbox, as most transactions today are closed virtually without the release of physical keys to purchasers).

For the majority of real estate purchases, people obtain mortgages to assist in funding. Depending on several factors, including the lender procedures and timing of the closing day, lawyers may not be funded for a purchase until the afternoon of closing- sometimes even after 4:00pm! Only when a purchaser’s lawyer receives funds from a lender, can this lawyer forward the funds to the seller’s lawyer to close.

The purchaser and seller also have to exchange documents and resolve any outstanding issues and requirements before the purchase can be completed. Did the seller complete all the work they were supposed to? Were the old mortgages found to be registered against title resolved? Construction liens? Executions? The potential list of issues that can be faced up to the date of closing can be quite lengthy.

So as long as a transaction is completed, then keys will be released to the purchaser on closing. When will the keys be available? Sometime potentially between 10:00am and 5:00pm. So, if you are one of those purchasers that plan to move on your actual closing date, note that the movers may have the moving truck loaded and ready by noon—but you may not get into your new home that quickly. A better course of action is to plan to clean the property by the evening and move the next day. Otherwise, predicting the timing on the closing date requires a crystal ball—which I have yet to find in my years of practice.



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Jonathan Hacohen

Jonathan A. Hacohen is a Partner at Kormans LLP. His practice areas include Real Estate & Corporate Law, as well as Wills/Estates law. You can reach Jonathan at

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