The final walk-through on a home or property purchase is essential to the buying process. However, many investors avoid this final step, assuming everything went to plan. But, you know what happens when you assume?
So, what is the purpose of the final walk-through, regardless of whether the home is vacant or if this is an investment or primary residence purchase?
The final walk-through is not the time to have a second home inspection. You should not be bringing along your handyman, home inspector, your parents, or anyone else for that matter other than the people buying the home and your agent. You can bring a home inspector along, but don’t expect the seller to do anything at this point. Your home inspection report and contingency with the time to ask for any repairs or credits for repairs. Now is the time to simply double checked the house for its integrity and its consistency with when you first purchased it.
The ideal time to conduct the final walk-through is when the seller has moved everything out, but that’s not always possible. During this final walk-through you should do several things:
- Test major systems like garage door openers and appliances.
- Verify the integrity of the HVAC system.
- Open and close all doors and windows to make sure that they work properly.
- Verify the home is as it should be when closing.
This is your chance to verify that the house hasn’t been trashed or destroyed between the last time you inspected the house and closing. This is your last chance to verify that the home has remained consistent throughout the sale. If something is not right, the homebuyer is within their rights to delay the home closing due to either faulty systems that were previously working or anything that has now fallen into disrepair between the inspection and closing.
It’s important to have a checklist when conducting the final walk-through to verify everything that needs to be looked at. Every room should be looked to check for any excess damage as a result of moving items in and out or any other type of damage that was not previously noticed.
It is rare, but we have seen homes that have had the previous appliances taken out and cheaper appliances installed in their place just before closing. The type and brand of fixtures that were in the house during the offer an inspection should be the same ones at the time of closing unless specifically stated in the contract by the seller. Anything attached to the house including light fixtures and even curtain rods and drapes should remain with the house unless previously stated in the contract.
If these items are missing, a court order can require the seller to compensate the homebuyer for the cost of replacing the cheap items with either equal or better fixtures to match what was present when the offer was first made.
The final walk-through is not just for the homebuyer. It’s to create a sense of responsibility and satisfaction so that the seller also has the piece of mine that the buyer knows what they are getting. Broken windows, doors, or nonworking appliances can break the deal and cost the seller more money. So it’s important that the buyer conducts this walk-through to verify the validity of everything they have originally seen.
Bellevue Luxury Realtor Mary Pong Says: The sellers usually want buyers to do that final walk-through so they feel that everything is done to the buyer’s satisfaction. Unless the seller has done something underhanded, they should welcome that final check.
It’s possible for movers to damage the property. If this is the case, the seller should go back to the moving company for compensation. The sellers may not have any idea that the movers have destroyed the property, so it’s a benefit to the seller as well in order to get compensation for the damage.
Often times when you’re buying an investment property it will be a vacant building or a vacant home. Everything that’s in the home during the final walk-through should be stated in the contract. If anything is to the contrary, closing can be delayed until corrected. If the home has been vacant for some time, that final walk-through will verify that no one has been squatting in the home and there’s been no additional damage. If the property or multi-family home is not vacant, a walk-through is still necessary to common areas as well as the living units to make sure they’re in the condition that the buyer originally saw them in.
As a recap, it’s important to have a final walk-through regardless of the type of home or how you are buying it. You want to make sure that the home is in the same condition as stated on the contract. If not, this could change the buying process.
For more information on walk-throughs and the home investing or buying process call our office at any time.