Before you close on the purchase of your home you have one final chance to view the interior of the house you are about to buy. This is the final walk-through and, because the house is empty, it is a great opportunity to ensure that the house you are buying is the same condition as when you agreed to buy and signed the purchase and sale agreement.
I’ve seen many various way in which my clients approach the walk-through. Some treat it with all the seriousness it deserves, while others are hardly interested as they breeze through the home.
So, what should a buyer be on the lookout for during the final walk-through? PLENTY! If the seller agreed to make certain repairs, they should have been re-inspected prior to the walk-through, but if they weren’t check first to ensure that those repairs were, in fact, made to the specifications outlined in the inspection repair agreement. Have your home inspector accompany you if need be. Also, If checking these repairs requires water, gas or electricity, and those services have been shut off, don’t close the transaction until the services are reinstated and you can perform your inspection.
Next, make sure that the rest of the house is in the same condition as when you made the offer. Go through each room and look for recent damage, such as to walls, baseboards and flooring. Check the attic and basement to ensure the seller didn’t leave behind his unwanted junk. If appliances were included in the sale, check to ensure they are in working condition; check that the ice maker in the freezer is in working order, turn on the stove burners to see that they are functioning.
Check the plumbing by flushing toilets and running both cold and hot water through all of the faucets. Turn on the heater, then the air conditioner (only in the summer). I have heard of a buyer that moved into her home only to find that the garbage disposal was missing. The sellers took it with them. Luckily, she got it back, but check all you can to ensure that all is as it should be.
The home should be at least swept clean. If it’s not, request that the seller have it cleaned before you close.
Don’t neglect the exterior of the home. If there is a sprinkler system ask for an instruction booklet, if your agent hasn’t already. Is there outside lighting, a hot tub or pool? Do you understand how to use these items and/or their control panels? If not, ask your agent to get this information from the seller.
After you’ve signed the closing papers, this house, and any problems, may belong to you. The time for due diligence will have come and gone and you may have little recourse for things you find after the sale. Take your time during the final walk-through, listen to your real estate agent’s advice and you can go to the closing table confident that you are getting what you’re paying for.
You can learn more about buying a home by visiting Al Pratte’s Market Properties website.