Congratulations; it is time for the final walk-through of your new home! The process leading up to this point has been a whirlwind of activity, including mortgage approval, contract negotiations, a home inspection, and attorney review. This is the final step before you sign the papers to make this house your home. You are excited, stressed, and a little frazzled.
You may be wondering if this step is important. Actually, it’s just as important as the mortgage approval, contract negotiations, and everything else you’ve been through.
What if the sellers were not honest or forthcoming? What if they lied about required repairs? What if they painted the house and you hate the color? What if the lilac bush, one of the reasons you bought the house, is gone? What if the stainless steel appliances have been replaced with ancient appliances that don’t work?
Issues like these sometimes show up during final walk-throughs; issues like these highlight why it’s never a good idea to skip the final walk-through.
When should you do the final walk through?
The final walk-through is not the time to begin negotiating with the seller to do repairs; it’s not a contingency, either. The walk-through has two purposes:
1. To confirm that the condition of the house is the condition you agreed to when you placed an offer
2. To confirm that any required repairs have been completed.
As a result, the day before closing can be the perfect time to do the final walk-through. The previous owners should be out of the home by then, but it still gives us time to resolve issues that may arise; this will help avoid last-minute crises at the closing.
In many cases, though, buyers find themselves doing the final walk-through right before they sign the papers. Maybe the current owners didn’t move out until the morning, or maybe you had to travel from out of town. If this happens and repairs have not been completed or other issues arise, your attorney may have money placed into escrow to resolve those issues after the closing.
Things to check during your final walk-through
There are many details to consider during a final walk-through, and some of this list may or may not apply to your situation. Use it as a starting point, and make sure you discuss anything you need to sign off on with your attorney and Realtor. The house should be empty of all personal items (unless it’s being sold furnished), broom clean, and ready to move in.
Check the following:
· Have all repairs been made? Check copies of paid bills and warranties on those repairs.
· Have there been any major changes to the property since you last viewed it?
· Does the water run? Do the sinks leak?
· Do the toilets flush?
· Is everything that was included in the price still there? Examples include draperies, lighting fixtures, etc.
· Are all screens and storm windows in place or stored?
· Are all appliances that were included in the sale in place and operational? Examples include the dishwasher, washer and dryer, oven, etc.
· Is all mechanical equipment in good working order? Examples include intercom/doorbell, alarm, hot water heater, heating/air conditioning systems
· Have any plants or shrubs been removed from the yard?
· Are the garage door opener and any other remotes available?
· Are instruction books and warranties on appliances and fixtures available?
If there are any problems, contact your attorney immediately. They have expertise in these matters, and they are prepared to deal with these issues. Your attorney will speak with the seller’s attorney and delay the closing to give the seller time to correct the situation or require that money be placed in escrow to rectify the situation after the closing.
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All statistics are gathered from the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS®.
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Thinking of selling your Western New York home? Interested in finding out the current market value of your single family home, condo or investment property? Then call us at (716) 650-0051 to discuss what is happening in today’s Western New York Real Estate Market. We would be happy to give you a personalized Comparative Market Analysis for your home or assist you to purchase a home.
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