The home purchase transaction is moving forward. You are only a few days away from closing as there is still one more important task to complete before you sign the contract, pay for the house, and get the keys. It's time for the final walk-through.
Many weeks, or even months, could have passed from the time when you were last inside the house. A final walk-through is your last chance to look at the property before closing on the deal. This informal visual inspection can remove buyer's remorse in case you discover something serious with the house before signing the closing documents.
Here are several tips on what to do during the final walk-through and how to proceed if you do find any problems with the house.
Give Yourself Time with the Final Walk-Through
Rushing through with the final walk-thru increases the change that you'll miss something important. Give yourself plenty of time to look at the home completely, and to ensure everything is as expected.
Depending on the size of the property, schedule to perform a 30-minute to one-hour inspection. Typically, the final walk-thru should be scheduled 1-3 days before closing - although walk-thrus the morning of closing are common (but try to avoid that). This timeframe allows you to bring problems to the attention of the seller.
Checking the Inside of the House
The house should be totally empty at this point. Any trash or belongings still in the house need to be removed by the seller at their expense. You should also look for things that may be missing, such as faucets, light fixtures, or appliances that you and the seller agreed to leave in the house.
Now is your time to check everything to ensure it is in working order. Turn on lights, run faucets, flush the toilet and run the furnace as well as the central air or heating air unit. A great tip is to carry your phone and charger into the house to plug into the outlets. You can find out which outlets are working and which ones need to be fixed -- assuming they were previously in working order.
While inspecting the interior, you should also look for any damages that were not present during the previous home inspection. Check the floors for scratches in the hardwood surface or tears in the carpeting. Look for holes in the walls or water-stained ceilings. Also check windows and doors to ensure they open and close properly.
This is also the time to make sure that any agreed-upon repairs have been completed (though is much preferred to have evidence completed repairs prior to the walkthrough).
Checking the Exterior of the House
Never skip out on examining the outside of the house too. If there were recent rain storms, wind storms, ice storms or snowfall, unexpected damage could have been caused.
This inspection will be your last chance on getting the seller to make necessary repairs in case of recent damage. Ensure the yard, as well as any other buildings and structures such as detached garages and sheds, are in good condition.
How to Proceed If Issues are Discovered
If you discover a problem that cannot be overlooked but the closing is just a day away, you may still have options even at this late period of time.
The two most common issue that comes up during walkthroughs, is the home being left unclean, or the seller failing to make repairs that were previously agreed to, and according to the contract. If the seller refuses to complete repairs as agreed, first consult with your real estate agent in an effort to open-up communications with the seller, as it may be a simple oversight.
If however, the seller won't budge on taking care of the outstanding issue, then the only option may be to seek legal advice from an attorney.
Keep in mind during the walk-thru, that it is not a formal inspection, nor is it a time to focus on cosmetic issues, or the normal wear & tear of moving. If however, there are general condition, repair or maintenance issues that were previously overlooked that you simply cannot accept, then the only two options are to attempt to open negotiations again with the seller, or to seek legal advice as to your additional options -- keeping in mind, that time is of the essence. #hw