The final walk-through before closing is often taken for granted when it is a vitally important step in the home-buying process. Buyer clients will often ask me why we must take part in this event. They are eager to get in and get the deal sealed. But no matter how many times you may have toured the home before the offer, or how confident you feel in the inspection, the final walk-through should never be bypassed. In fact, the results of the walk-through could determine if and when a closing should occur.
This is your final look at the home before assuming it as your own. Buyer clients have not typically been in the home since the inspection appointment, which typically was some time ago. The purpose of the final walk-through is to make sure everything is in the same exact condition as it was originally before being conveyed to the buyer client as promised and agreed upon on paper.
Be sure to confirm the agreed upon work and terms from the inspection report. Also check with your realtor to take a look back at the accepted offer, and be sure all items negotiated remain in the home, as well as items that should have been removed by the seller.
In an ideal situation, the final walk-through would occur right before closing. Ideally, you would leave your final walk-through and head on over to your closing. Although this is ideal, the timeframe is sometimes not practical.
The final walk-through should never be longer than a few days before closing because the status/condition of the home could have changed. This could be anything from a terrible storm causing a tree to fall on the roof, or the seller’s movers may have caused damage to hardwood floors. The purpose of the final walk-through is to protect buyers from assuming anything other than what they were promised. If for some reason a buyer client cannot be present at the final walk-through, then a representative or the buyer’s realtor should be present. This is the time to ensure the home and property are in the exact condition they were in when the client went under contract.
Look for anything that seems out of order. Homes should be delivered “broom clean.” No garbage, furniture, or construction debris should be left around unless the buyers agreed to assume it in as-is condition. You are not there to inherit junk. Be sure to check on plumbing fixtures and that the water is on and running without any issues. Make sure light fixtures are in place and functioning. There should be no significant new damage to walls, floors, cabinets, windows, doors, electronics, garage/garage door or anything outside of the house. Make sure the appliances are functioning properly. Confirm that any work that was due to be completed by the seller per the inspection was done. If you were promised a garage door opener, or a keyless entry pin pad, be sure these items were left for you in operable condition.
Depending on the types of problems encountered, the final walk-through could reveal problems that actually delay the closing. Typically, the issues will not cancel the sale of the home. The agents from both sides of the transaction will work together to resolve any outstanding issues.
Remember, set the tone for good faith in the final moments of transfer. As professionals and consumers in the industry, it is in everyone’s best interest to have a smooth and cordial transaction from start to finish, the final walk-through included.
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