In a real estate transaction, possession is when the buyer is granted access to their new home after the closing is complete. Possession is usually symbolized by the passing of the keys from the seller to the buyer. The possession date is different for every transaction and is already agreed upon by the buyer and the seller prior to the closing. Typically, possession ranges anywhere from immediately after the closing to 30 to 60 days after closing but can be at any time at which the buyer and seller agree. Before closing, the buyer should discuss any questions they may have about the home with their real estate professional and also confirm the date on which they will be able to gain access to the home. 

Both the buyer and the seller will want to make sure that all the utilities are transferred into the buyer's name. In order to transfer the utilities, you and your agent will need the information for your new utility companies such as electric, gas or propane, water, sewer, and trash. This information can be obtained from the previous owner or the listing agent. Making contact with all of your utility providers a week from the possession date should ensure a smooth transfer of utilities. Other services such as cable, telephone, internet, lawn care, and security are typically turned off by the old owner and the new owner establishes new services with the same or new preferred providers. It is a good idea to notify your agent when your utilities are transferred.

One of the most important protections to have in place is your homeowner’s insurance. You should already have your insurance in place prior to closing, however, double-checking with your agent that you have the proper coverage before taking possession can provide an additional layer of peace of mind.

Once you have a possession date and time, utilities arranged, and insurance is double-checked, it is time to get your keys to your new home. The real estate agents in the transaction will communicate to develop a plan to hand the keys over from the seller to the buyer. Your keys may be picked up, handed to you, or maybe possibly left at the property, regardless of the plan you should ensure the arrangements are set up prior to possession day.

The seller should share their tips and knowledge about the home that may be helpful to their agent. On possession day these tips can be laid on the kitchen counter for the buyer when they walk in. Some sellers have been very helpful and have written a “tips and tricks” letter or left behind a packet of information about the property.

The first time you enter the property, you should take a good look around the home to ensure it is in the same condition or better than when you last saw the property. If anything is out of place or in need of repair, please contact your real estate professional immediately. Another thing to look for is possible items left behind by the previous owner. If anything is found, then you can contact your real estate agent to coordinate the return of items. 

Possession is a very exciting and important part of the real estate purchase process. Establishing the possession date and time, setting up utilities and services for the home, ensuring your insurance is in place, and noting any tips and tricks the seller has left behind are all crucial pieces to having a smooth transition to your new home.


Moving to a new home can be stressful, to say the least. Make it easy on yourself by planning far in advance and making sure you’ve covered all the bases.

  1. Don’t wait til the last minute, plan ahead by organizing and budgeting your move. Develop a master checklist so you won’t forget something critical on moving day, and create an estimate of moving costs. 

  2. Sort and get rid of things you no longer want or need. Have a garage sale, donate to a charity, or recycle. Never assume that the new owner will want your leftover items, either ask if they want them or get rid of them.

  3. Don’t throw out everything. If your inclination is to just toss it, you're probably right. However, it's possible to go overboard in the heat of the moment. Ask yourself how frequently you use an item and how you’d feel if you no longer had it. That will eliminate regrets after the move.

  4. Eat up. The movers will not move perishable food items. Plan the upcoming days and weeks meals around the food still at home. Many food pantries have a need for non-perishable food items and they can be donated prior to your move.

  5. Decide what, if anything, you plan to move on your own. Important items such as photos, breakables, vital documents, or must-haves such as phone chargers, first-aid kit, medications, or even your wallet should probably stay with you. Don't forget to keep a "necessities" bag with tissues, snacks, and other items you'll need that day.

  6. Save the essentials for last. As the days to moving day count down pack away more and more items until all that remains are the essentials - the things you use every day. Think about what's used the most, like your shower curtain, your bed sheets, dishes and utensil, and maybe the heaviest used pots and pans. Then pack these items together and put them in a box. When you're done packing, take everything out of the boxes and lay them out on the floor. Put the boxes back in the closet and start unpacking.

  7. Moving is stressful enough without having to worry about breaking something valuable. You should keep any fragile items out of the move. Take advantage of moving boxes from the local store to help reduce packaging costs. Make sure you have plenty of boxes before you begin packing. Label boxes clearly to avoid confusion. Boxes should hold no more than 50 lbs. Each box should be labeled with what is inside and how much. Do not pack too tightly. Packing too tightly causes damage to boxes and items inside them. Be careful when lifting boxes. Lift only one box at a time. Never stack boxes on top of each other. Doing so could cause damage to the boxes and items inside them and increase the chances of injury during transport.

  8. You should start by packing a single room at a time. It might be tempting to try and cram everything into your home before you move, but doing so can cause lots of stress and overwhelm. Start by packing away the things that aren’t regularly used, such as extra cleaning products, backstock of toilet rolls and paper towels, or any books that aren’t frequently read. Then, set aside an hour each week to pack away items that are not used on a daily basis. For example, you could start by packing away the bathroom on Mondays, followed by the kitchen on Tuesdays, then the living room on Wednesdays, and finally the bedroom on Thursdays. Once you’ve finished unpacking each room, you’ll find that you’ve got much less to pack up on moving day.

  9. Take a picture of your TV screen before you plug it into the wall. Keep an eye out for any loose cables or cords. You don't want them getting tangled up in the moving process. Wrap your TV in a moving blanket to protect it from scratches. If you're transporting a TV, make sure it's wrapped in something padded. A couch cushion works well. If you don't have a moving blanket, try wrapping your TV in a mattress cover or pillowcase.

  10. Organizing your boxes. Each box should have a label on it. It's impossible to predict how they'll be stacked, and you don't want to have to move other boxes to see what's inside. Label each object with a color to designate the room it belongs in. To assist movers, color-code the floor layout of your new home. Take pictures of the items in the package. After you've packed the boxes, take a quick photo of the interior in case you need to refresh your memory later on about what's where. Even while you won't get every item in the photo, it should still give you a good indication of what's within each box.

  11. Locate a truck that has a moving ramp. There are various strategies to make moving easier on the mind and body for people who are doing it on their own. Renting a moving truck, particularly one with a ramp, will speed up and simplify loading and unloading. A moving truck that is most suited to your home's size may transfer all of your furniture and possessions at once rather than requiring you to transport individual loads in cars or pickup trucks. The ramp will also significantly reduce the time and effort required to load and unload bulky, heavy things while also reducing stress on your arms, knees, and back.

  12. Ensure that your smartphone is charged. Make sure to completely charge your phone the night before. Your charger should be close by or in your basics bag. It will be important so that you can interact with your movers while they are in transit if necessary and plan logistics with them. Additionally, you might need to use it while picking up the rental truck (if you need directions, for instance).

  13. Back up your computer files before moving your computer. Keep the backup in a safe place, preferably at an off-site location.

  14. Bring a cooler. Stock a cooler with convenient goods, such as water bottles and quick snacks, that can help you stay energized throughout the day. You may reach it whenever you need to just transport it in your car rather than a moving truck.

  15. Make plans for young children and animals. Moving can be emotionally and mentally taxing. Children can assist with packing boxes and organizing their belongings in advance, but it might be preferable to keep them out of the chaos of moving day if at all possible.

  16. Don’t skip the final walkthrough. This can’t be stressed enough. Always go through the entire home for one last look. Open all cabinets and closets, and check all outdoor spaces. Lastly, check the attic and crawl space for potentially forgotten items. What you leave behind might not be easy to retrieve.