Final Walk-Through | What Is It and Why Is It So Important?
When you get near your closing date, you’ve nearly done everything to buy your home, but there’s still the final walk-through to complete. This is an important last step that can still throw problems your way.
Let’s take a look at the issues around this final stage of the home buying process and the things you need to do.
What is a Final Walk-Through?
As a buyer, the final walk-through allows you to make sure the home is in the condition expected. The home should not have changed substantially from the condition it was in when you agreed to purchase. It is also a chance to check that any negotiated repairs have been satisfactorily completed.
Buyers will get the opportunity to do the final walk-through on the home just before the official closing day. This will normally happen after the seller has moved out, but that isn’t always the case.
Why is a Final Walk-Through Important?
If you decide to skip the final walk-through before closing, it could be a costly mistake. Things could have changed in the home since you decided to buy, like appliances being changed or new damage being created.
If you don’t check the home before closing, you won’t know for certain that any repairs you had agreed with the seller have been completed successfully.
Without a walk-through, you won’t be able to bring up these problems with the seller and have them fixed at their expense.
If you discover something when you have got the keys to the property after closing, it may be very difficult to get the seller to pay for the repairs. If that is the case, there won’t be much incentive for the seller to pay the repair bill.
After all, you closed on the property. So without a final walk-through before signing your closing documents, any damage, any uncompleted repairs, or any missing fixtures or appliances will be your responsibility.
What Should You Check During the Final Walk-Through?
When buying a home, you should have had a home inspection, and the walk-through shouldn’t be viewed as another inspection. The walk-through is more of a general look at the condition of the property, ensuring there aren’t major issues or damage.
It is common for minor damage to happen when furniture is moved out of the home. Though you might discover the odd scratch when you go through the home, this isn’t something that you should bring to the seller and demand repairs.
Damage that is more than just minor scratches should be brought to the seller’s attention so that it can be repaired at the expense. If, for example, there are large holes in the wall or broken doors, this should be the responsibility of the seller to fix.
You need to make sure all the major systems of the home are functioning. Test HVAC systems, electric garage doors, and any appliances that are included in the purchase. If these things aren’t working as they were previously, it needs to be discussed with the seller’s agent to get the issue resolved.
If there is a major fault with a system in the home, the buyer can delay closing until they are satisfied. If these repairs can’t be made before closing, some of the purchase money could be placed in escrow. This will ensure the repairs or replacements happen, and allows closing to continue on schedule. This may be important for sellers if they have already moved out and expect to pay off the mortgage when the buyer closes.
Don’t forget to check the yard. Sometimes sellers might dig up plants or trees to take with them. If there is a swimming pool, you should check to make sure all of the equipment is there and functioning.One of the last steps to buying a home is the final walk-through but what exactly is a final walk-through and is it even necessary? #realestate #finalwalkthrough
Create a Final Walk-Through Checklist
So that you don’t forget something, have a list ready of the things you need to look at. The seller should have a similar final walk-through checklist. These lists should include items that the seller has agreed to leave behind as part of the sale, like appliances and fixtures. The same appliances and fixtures should still be in the house when you do the final walk-through, as when your offer was made.
Sometimes the seller might want to take an appliance or fixture with them. But if this is the case, they can only remove it if it has been excluded from the contract beforehand.
It isn’t unheard of for sellers to swap costly fixtures for cheaper items before closing. This sort of trick can be difficult to spot, but if it is discovered, a court could award compensation to the buyer.
You also need to reinspect any repairs the seller was required to carry out. Bringing a copy of the inspection summary or repair request will help you check that everything has been completed as agreed.
If the seller tells you that repairs have been made, don’t just take their word for it, test it. Find out if there are warranties and get receipts for the repair work, so you know who to contact if it fails again soon afterward. Doing this could save you some money if faults reoccur.
Has the Seller Completely Moved Out?
Most of the time, the seller will have moved out before your final walk-through. This makes it easier for you to check the property and find any faults that shouldn’t be there.
When you go through the home, you should check every room to ensure that, not only, they have left the things they are supposed to, but that they also haven’t left anything behind. Check all the closets, attic space, along with garages and sheds.
You might find that the seller has left behind some old cans of paint or debris from some repair work on the home. This should be their responsibility to deal with and not the buyers.
In some cases, the seller isn’t going to move out until the closing day, or they might be staying on a little bit longer if this has been agreed to with the buyer.
If this is the situation, the buyer will be doing their walk-through with the seller present. This could be awkward and will make it more difficult to check the condition of the home and any repairs.
The Final Walk-Through
You shouldn’t miss the last opportunity to check the home in the condition it should be before you sign the closing contracts.
If you do find things wrong, you have some options without walking away from the purchase. Some of the proceeds of the sale can go into escrow until the repairs have been completed, and if that can’t be agreed upon, only then might you need to begin legal action to resolve the situation.
Please consider spreading the word and sharing; Final Walk-Through | What Is It and Why Is It So Important?One of the last steps to buying a home is the final walk-through but what exactly is a final walk-through and is it even necessary? #realestate #finalwalkthrough
About the Author
Top Wellington Realtor, Michelle Gibson, wrote: “Final Walk-Through | What Is It and Why Is It So Important?”
Michelle has been specializing in residential real estate since 2001 throughout Wellington Florida and the surrounding area. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or rent she will guide you through the entire real estate transaction. If you’re ready to put Michelle’s knowledge and expertise to work for you call or e-mail her today.
Areas of service include Wellington, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Greenacres, and more.