Taking possession of a property in which the sellers have not vacated is, to put it mildly, a nightmare. Buyers should always, always tour the property the morning of the closing to avoid this scenario.

QUESTION: We closed on our first home a few days ago. We were surprised when we left the closing to find the sellers still had furniture at the house and told us they needed to stay a few extra days. How do we get them out? We were planning on moving in this weekend.

ANSWER: I know it doesn’t help your immediate situation, but I need to tell you some “should haves” you should have done before closing.

Taking possession of a property in which the sellers have not vacated is, to put it mildly, a nightmare. Buyers should always, always tour the property the morning of the closing to avoid this scenario.

If the property is not empty of the sellers’ stuff, as outlined in the purchase and sale contract, never close. The sale proceeds can be put in escrow until the sellers move out.

If the sellers have moved out and the property is left in the condition as required under the contract, then proceed with the closing.

Very often, sellers will ask to stay an extra day or two in the property or leave a few items to be picked up a few days later. Never allow this.

Buyers are entitled to take full possession of the property when they pay the sellers for the property. If the seller wants to stay or leave items past closing, the buyer and seller should have a written agreement setting out the terms and expectations of the extra stay.

Some of the purchase price or a daily fee can be put into escrow and held back to make sure the seller abides by the agreement and leaves the property in the condition as required under the contract.

If the seller does not vacate on the appointed date or leaves the home damaged in some way, then the money held in escrow can be given to the buyer as a penalty.

Once buyers close, they lose all leverage and need to engage an attorney to demand possession of the home and determine what steps they can take to force the sellers out. They may even need to go through the eviction process which can take time and money.

You should contact your attorney and review your purchase and sale contract to see what it says if the seller defaults on the delivery of possession of the home to you. You may be able to sue the seller and recover attorney fees as well.

Linda Goodspeed is a longtime real estate writer and author of “In and out of Darkness.” Email her at: lrgoodspeed@comcast.net.