The Final Walk Through

Your loan has been approved, you’ve reviewed the closing documents and the bank has said the sale is “clear to close.” The last step before the closing is your final walk through of the property. This is the buyer’s ultimate checkpoint in the home buying process you started weeks or months ago. It’s also the last chance for any surprises to surface that could jeopardize the deal.

The final walk through usually occurs a day before the closing. In certain situations, it might be better to do the walk through as many as five days ahead of time. In other circumstances, you could do the final walk through on the same day as the closing.

The main purpose of this step is to insure that the house you are about to close on is in the condition you expect it to be. If it was flawless when you signed the purchase agreement, then it still needs to be flawless now. If your purchase agreement contained a contingency that certain repairs had to be made before the closing, then you need to check that the repairs were done to your satisfaction.

Many first time buyers are tempted to waive the final walk through: don’t! And make sure to do it with your realtor at your side. Lots of things can go wrong with properties in a short 30 days, and it’s your responsibility to check things carefully. If a family is living there, for instance, plumbing can get clogged or windows can break. Since you were last there, the seller’s pet could have started to tear up a carpet or a storm could have damaged trees on the property. You need to know the condition of the home you are about to buy.

If you know that the house you’re purchasing needed repairs, you may wish to do your final walk through several days before the closing. Then, if the repairs were not done to your satisfaction there would still be time to get them done properly.

If the house you’re buying, though, has been vacant for a while, then do your final walk through as near to the closing as possible. Strange things can happen to homes that sit vacant. Windows can break and animals can get in. Pipes can freeze or roofs can leak, and nobody will notice anything until there’s extensive damage.

Waiting until the last moment to do your final walk through is also a good idea if the home you’re purchasing is currently a rental property. Unfortunately, many renters do not take very good care of their lodgings. As the ancient Romans said, “Caveat emptor,” or “Let the buyer beware”: it is part of your responsibility and due diligence to check on things.

In an older home, or if major repairs needed to be made, it might be a good idea to ask the seller to do the walk though with you. Your realtor will make the arrangements for this. You should also do the walk through with a copy of the home inspection report on hand. Then you could check off items in the report as you verify any work that was done. This is also an opportunity for the seller to answer any questions you have about the repairs or could explain to you the quirks of the home. All older homes have quirks, by the way (e.g., don’t run the dishwasher while someone’s in the shower, or you’ll hear them scream when the hot water cuts out…) The quirks are often what makes these homes “charming.” J

So what should you actually check at the final walk through? First of all, make sure that everything is just as it was agreed to in the contract, e.g., repairs have been done and any appliances you purchased are still there. This is the time to make sure that the seller has moved out and cleaned the property. Also look carefully at all the walls, floors and ceilings for any signs of moisture or damage.

Call Susanne today at 614-975-9650 to ask any questions about this last checkpoint or to set up your final walk through!