If you are in the home stretch of buying a house, it is time to slow your pace down and do the walk through…
Buying a House and the Walk Through
If you are in the home stretch of the house buying process, congratulations! I bet you are focusing on last minute moving details. While you are excited about moving into your new home, there is an important step that you must NOT skip:
The Walk Through
So what is a walk through? It is your last chance to check that everything in the home is working and there are no problems waiting for you after closing. A final walk through help you avoid buyer’s remorse and feel more confident. It can address any minor issues that should be taken care of before the closing.
Do not confuse the walk through with a home inspection. Both are crucial parts of the due diligence that MUST be performed when buying a home.
However, they are different! A walk through is not a home inspection. The walk through does not replace the home inspection! The walk through is to make sure that the house is in the condition you agreed to and nothing bad has happened since you last looked at it.
Take your time and do not be in a hurry. Do not rush through each room. I suggest you do a slow and careful walk through.
This in not a time to nitpick about every little thing. That should have already happened! All you are doing is looking for anything that might have happened since the last time you looked at the home.
Most of the time the walk through happens the day before closing. Scheduling the walk through the day before closing gives the seller time to handle any issues. The seller may be rushed to get anything fixed or repaired BUT that is their problem and not yours.
I also suggest that you do not do a walk through too far in advance. Any last minute damage that happened between the walk through and closing may go unnoticed until it is too late.
What to Look For During a Walk Through
After closing, the seller has no obligation to fix anything and it is now your problem. Here is some of the stuff to check during the walk through:
- Do the appliances work? Where are the warranties and manuals?
- Do the light switches and outlets work?
- Does the HVAC work properly?
- Are any of the fixtures or appliances missing?
- Has the seller completed the repairs required by the contract?
- Is there any damage that happened when the previous owner moved out?
- Do the sinks, showers, tubs and toilets work correctly?
- Check the exterior of the home for any recent storm or weather damage
- Did the previous owner leave anything?
The house should be clean BUT do not expect the home to be deep cleaned. Unless you negotiated for professional cleaning in the contract, the best you can hope for is the property is “broom clean”. Different people have different definitions of clean. Cleaning the home to YOUR satisfaction is one of the first steps to take AFTER you have closed.
Do not expect the seller to bend over backwards to clean the home to your satisfaction. Not saying to accept a home that is filthy either. Just be realistic and reasonable.
Find A Problem During the Walk Through?
I hope that you do NOT find anything during the walk through. You are so close but it is last minute hiccups that can cause deal destroying issues. How you react depends on how serious the problem is.
Not all is lost if you do find anything wrong. The first thing to do is to remain calm and not freak out. Your buyer’s agent should contact the seller’s real estate agent to work this out BEFORE you get to the closing.
I am not suggesting that you get screwed over. But are you going to screw up the deal for something that really, truly and honestly does NOT amount to a hill of beans? If it will cost very little to repair or replace, just let it go.
If it is something that is going to cost serious money, you can walk away. You may get sued but this is an option. I would say this should be a last option and should be avoided.
If what you find during the walk through isn’t that big a deal, you may decide it is not worth freaking out over. You could fix it yourself, you can pay someone else to fix it, or you can postpone the closing until the seller fixes the problem.
Remember that if something was agreed upon during the negotiations and is in the contract, you have a legal recourse. Not giving legal advice but just pointing out the obvious.
If your contract says that the seller is going to fix or repair something, you MUST check this has happened and has been done according to the contract. You should check after any repairs are completed so they are done according to the terms of the contract.
Don’t wait until the final walk through to check these kinds of things!
The time to check stuff like this about a week or so before the closing. This will give you time to make sure the problem is taken care of to your satisfaction. Also it means your closing won’t be delayed.
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