What is closing and when do I get to move in?

In Washington State, closing is considered the day that the deed is recorded into the buyer's name and the proceeds are paid to the seller. But, when you can take legal possession of the property depends on the terms or conditions of your contract.  But let's digress for a moment.

Closing in Washington

Different states handle closing procedures in various ways. In Washington State, buyers and sellers sign at separate times, typically two to three days prior to closing. Closings are predominately handled by escrow companies, although some prefer to use attorneys. Again, your purchase contract determined which you would use.

Prior to signing, the escrow company will set an appointment with you to come in and sign. They will also give you the total amount of funds to close that you will need to bring to the signing in the form of a certified or cashier's check.


As far as possession is concerned, legal possession can only occur when the deed is recorded and funds are disbursed. We do, however, have a standard practice in Washington State called "Possession + X Days" (the number of days can vary but typically it is 3).

This means that you may have possession 3 days after recording and disbursement of funds. This was designed to give the sellers a chance to move out since most people need the proceeds from their home sale to purchase their new home.

We will assist you in determining the actual day and time when you may take possession.

Knowing exactly when you can have possession of your new home is a great relief to many and allows you to proceed forward with your moving plans. It also establishes an exact cut off/start time for your utilities.

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Austin Schneider