The Home Buying Process: One Final Walk-Through
Ready to Close Out on the Home?
A final walk-through is conducted anywhere from a week right up until a few hours before closing. This isn’t supposed to be the time for negotiations with the seller or backtracking on the original agreement. A final walk-through is really conducted for a few different reasons.
It can be tempting to pass it up. As the closing draws near and moving time is closing in, buyers get busy and it can be hard to set aside time to go do this final walk-through. However, it is a good one-hour investment of your time and it can save a lot of headaches in the future.
In many states, the buyer and the seller never meet in person and that is usually the best way to do it. The final walk-through should ideally be conducted after the sellers have moved out all of their belongings. Your real estate agent will help you set everything up and let you know when to conduct it. It is a good idea to have them present to go through things with you if they are available.
The Purpose of the Walk-Through
The main purpose of the final walk-through is to check the condition of the house. If people have just moved out, you want to ensure that the contract was adhered to. For instance, if the contract states that they are to leave all major appliances, then you want to ensure that they are there and you are not perhaps missing a dishwasher. If the house has been sitting for a while, the final walk-through is even more important. Many times, workers will come through, for example, a termite inspector, and you want to ensure that no one left a faucet dripping, which could cause water damage.
Check Major Systems
The final walk-through isn’t the time to go over the house with a fine-tooth comb. That should have been done during the inspection. However, there are some things you’ll want to check aside from the above-mentioned items. You’ll want to check all major systems such as HVAC, the hot water heater, and the garage door opener. You should turn all light switches on and off to ensure they work and do the same with the water faucets. If the major appliances are present, then check them too and ensure they are in good working order. Another thing you’ll want to check is the roof. Many times, there will be storms with hail or high winds that can damage a roof between the time of contract and the actual closing.
Take a Checklist
It is a good idea to take a checklist with you to the walk-through. It is easy to get wrapped up in the home-buying process and forget to check things. If you have a list in front of you, then there are no worries about forgetting items. You can make your own list or print one off the internet. They are available for free and using a list can save you some money by ensuring that you don’t pass over any potential issues.
If major systems were previously working and they no longer are, you are within your rights to delay the closing. If you don’t want to take a chance on the closing getting canceled, there is another option. You can request that an amount of the proceeds that would go to the seller instead are directed and held in escrow to repair the items. This allows you to address the problem, close on the house, transfer ownership and still get the issue resolved.
Be diligent in the process. Follow-through on important things until all is clear to go. Make sure you are getting what you agreed to and don’t bypass things and think you can get them resolved after all is signed off on. Good luck with your home-buying process and enjoy your new home!