When the owner of residential property changes, the last step after the visit to the land office and the receipt of the money is crucial: the handover of the keys; after this, the previous owner moves out, and the buyer moves in. At this point, all documents are handed over, a joint tour of the house is made, and meter readings and defects are noted. It makes sense to draw up a protocol for the handover of possession so that the sale of the house does not have any repercussions. We have summarized what you should pay attention to in the house handover protocol.
Summary of the most important things to remember in a handover:
As with a condominium, a house is handed over at an agreed time after the purchase contract has been signed, usually only after the money has been received.
The handover occurs under the agreed conditions, typically in a “bought as seen” condition.
Before the keys are handed over, the buyer and seller tour the property together.
Defects are noted in the handover protocol, including the “to do” list, who will take care of these, and by what date.
It also lists all the previous owner’s documents to be handed over to the new owner.
The handover protocol may also be referred to as the takeover protocol, as meter readings are recorded, and it is noted which inventory/furniture is being taken over.
The buyer and seller sign the handover protocol, and witnesses present also sign if necessary.
The goal of a handover protocol for a house or condominium is a smooth transition without legal disputes. It protects both sides: for example, the buyer can claim unlisted, missing, or required documents from the seller. If defects occur after the handover, which the seller neither concealed nor is responsible for, he does not have to pay for these to be resolved.
A good handover protocol checklist includes:
- Names and contact details of the parties
- Time of the inspection
- Property data (address, last renovation, service charges paid until)
- Meter readings (heating, electricity, water meters)
- Furniture/inventory per room
- Defects – including the basement, attic, garage, outdoor areas such as the garden, etc. Examples include a crack on a wall, a leaking roof, and faucets not working. A record is taken of who will remove the defects, by when, and at whose expense.
- Repairs that have already been ordered or are still being paid for by the previous owner.
- The number of keys from the mailbox to the tool shed.
- A list of the documents handed over. Of particular importance are:
- Building description
- Building plans, floor plans, sketches, and static calculations
- Building insurance
- Property tax assessment
- Craftsmen’s invoices (especially relatively recent, larger ones)
- Inspection records (especially fireplace inspections by the chimney sweep)
- Operating manuals for building services/heating etc.
- In the case of condominiums, the minutes of the last three owners’ meetings and the declaration of division should also be included.
- Place, date, and signature of all who are present .
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 Optional: If witnesses accompany you during the handover, name them in the handover protocol and have them sign.