Closing Date vs Move-in Date: Are They The Same?

Written by Banks Editorial Team
4 min. read
Written by Banks Editorial Team
4 min. read

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You’ve done the hard work of buying a property or selling your home. What happens after a property sale? Every real estate transaction has a closing date and a move-in date. Some homes have different closing and move-in dates. We’ll share the distinctions between these two dates and why the gap exists.

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Closing Date vs. Move-in Date: What Is The Difference

Each date reflects the progress of transferring ownership. The closing date is the day you finalize the transaction. The buyer will obtain financing from the mortgage lender or pay in cash. Most property sales fall through because the buyer can’t get a loan from a lender or the buyer can’t sell their property in time. Some buyers must sell their current home before moving into another house. Buyers in this situation can use Offerpad to sell their homes and get cash quickly. 

Buyers can pull out for other reasons such as findings from a home inspection, a disagreement between either party or the seller lacking a clear title. These hurdles make a successful closing day satisfying for both parties. It’s an important milestone, but both parties may need time to prepare for a move. 

Sellers may need some time to gather their belongings and move out of their homes. Moving out of a home is exhausting and expensive work. Some sellers may not begin this process until they receive the proceeds from a sale. They may not have enough available funds to afford moving services until the sale.

When Can You Usually Move-In After Closing

Some sellers will let you move into the home after closing. However, most sellers will have you wait several weeks before moving into your new home. You and the seller will reach an agreement during the closing. Several factors can impact the gap between your closing date and move-in date.

Contract Terms

The written contract establishes the move-in date. Many sellers will have their reservations about moving out right away. Funds from the transaction can take several days to arrive in the seller’s bank account. Sellers will express any concerns before signing the contract. 


Most homebuyers would love to purchase a home that’s ready for them. Some buyers want to set up the new house immediately after closing. However, this isn’t possible for most sellers. At the same time, the seller can’t stay in the property for too long. Sellers understand that buyers want to occupy the home soon, but they can’t push their own needs to the side either. 

Both parties must make compromises to arrive at a fair move-in date. Most sellers agree to leave the property within 7-10 days. If the seller needs an extra 1-2 weeks, they may negotiate it into the purchasing contract. Buyers in this situation may agree to an additional 1-2 weeks to avoid rocking the boat. 


The seller may need extra time beyond the typical 1-2 week window before moving out. For example, some sellers are in the process of buying another home. These sellers prefer to see this deal get finalized before moving out. Setting a move-in date a few months after the closing date isn’t fair to the buyer, but a leaseback structure justifies the extra time.

Patient buyers can collect daily, weekly, or monthly rent from the current occupant. The former owner becomes a temporary renter, hoping to stall for time. However, the seller may need time to buy a house or get approved for a rental unit. The buyer and seller negotiate the leaseback terms, including rent payments and the move-in date. This structure still establishes an exact move-in date while providing an income source. The former owner’s rent payments can help you cover the mortgage for the initial months and build equity in your home. Some people get inspired by this experience and become real estate investors.

Occupancy Date 

The occupancy date is the date you move into your new home. Before this date, the seller must leave the property and let you into the home. At this point, the home truly feels as if it is yours, and you can start the next chapter of your life. 

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Learn how to buy your house with Offerpad to get up to a $1,000 reward towards your closing costs and real estate local expertise.

Closing Date vs. Move-in Date: What Factors Can Affect These Dates?

  • Moving Services: Some sellers hire moving services after receiving funds from the transaction. The moving service may take a few days to move everything out. Packing may take longer than expected. 
  • Rent Application: Sellers don’t want to move out unless they have a roof over their heads. Some sellers have pending rent applications and are waiting for one approval before moving out. Some sellers may request a temporary leaseback program to give them extra time.
  • A corresponding home purchase: Some buyers need their home to get sold before moving into the new house. They will look for a buyer for their current home while finalizing the terms for their new home. If you are pressed for time, you can get a quick offer from Offerpad. You can get a free cash offer in as little as 24 hours without any obligation.
  • Repairs: Many buyers hire an inspector to check for problems. If the inspector reports significant issues, the buyer may request property repairs before moving into the property. Both parties negotiate to decide who pays for the repairs during the closing. If the buyer pays for the repairs, the move-in date takes place sooner. If the seller is responsible for repairs, the move-in date can stretch further out. 
  • Home Cleaning: The seller needs time to clean their home for the new owner. Sellers should clean the entire premise and make it look as if it were unoccupied. Sellers can skip this step if they accept an as-is offer on the home.
  • The Real Estate Market: A buyer and seller negotiate with each other to determine a move-in date. The status of the real estate market determines who has more leverage in these conversations. Many buyers and few homes give the seller more negotiating power. Buyers may agree to most of the seller’s terms because of the low supply. Sellers struggling to sell their homes to a small pool of buyers may accommodate more of the buyer’s requests.
  • Financing: Buyers will need financing before closing on a property. Most deals fall through because the lender doesn’t agree to fund the buyer’s purchase. Financing issues can delay the closing date. Financing no longer becomes an issue once you get through the closing date. 

How to Sell Your House to Close Your Next Sale

Transitioning from one home to another can get complicated. You may find the house of your dreams, but not selling your current home in time can stall negotiations. The seller may get cold feet and work with a buyer who already has financing. You don’t want an unsold home to prevent you from buying your desired home, and neither does Offerpad.

Offerpad can make a cash offer on your property within 24 hours. Sellers get flexibility on the close date. You can close on the property in a few days if you need the money now. Sellers can also set a closing date as far out as 90 days. The extended closing date gives you more time to finalize your offer with the owner of your dream home. Some Offerpad sales are eligible for deals like Extended Stay and Free Local Move. You can get a free cash offer from Offerpad today with no obligation.


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