We’ve talked about the process of the final buyer’s walk-through before, so we thought now would be a good time to cover the form associated with it, the Buyer’s Walk-Through and Acceptance Form. This form, released by the Texas Association of REALTORS® went through a few minor changes recently, so let’s take a look at the most recent version, released and required for use on January 1, 2016. Although it’s a rather simple, one page form, the content of the form is rather important to the entire transaction and a successful closing. You will most likely see this form either during the final walk-through or at the closing table, as many title companies will put the form into their closing documents to ensure that it is signed by the buyers for the protection of all parties.
NOTICE TO BUYER: The contract provides that the Seller will deliver possession of the Property to the Buyer in its present or required condition, ordinary wear and tear excepted. Before closing, the Buyer should verify that the condition of the Property meets the terms of the contract.
The first notice to the buyer on the form is rather straightforward – the seller will be turning the property over to the buyer in the condition they’ve agreed upon (in the contract) minus any normal wear and tear. It also advises that buyer should verify the property’s condition as laid out in the contract. The contract requires the property’s condition to remain the same as when the home went under contract or with any repairs agreed upon completed, whether they were in the original contract in Paragraph 7.D.(2) or done via a later amendment (often referred to as a repair amendment, which usually occurs as a result of negotiations during the option period).
(1) The Property was inspected by an inspector or inspectors of Buyer’s choice. Buyer has reviewed the inspection report(s).
(2) Buyer has chosen not to have the Property inspected.
B. Before Closing Walk-Through:
(1) Buyer has walked through and reviewed the Property before closing on ___________.
(2) Buyer chooses not to walk through or review the Property before closing.
C. Acceptance: Buyer accepts the Property in its present condition.
Basically a yes/no section to the form: did the buyer have the property inspected or not and did the buyer conduct a final walk-through or not? Don’t forget to enter a date in B(1). We prefer to see both (1) boxes checked, because it is always recommended that you have the property inspected and that you walk-through the property (preferably the day of closing). The final note in this section is that the buyer accepts the property in its present condition. If for some reason there is an issue with the property and there is something that isn’t right, you should not sign this form and discuss your options with your agent. If there were repairs that were agreed upon that weren’t done, there is an issue and it needs to be resolved before you head to closing.
NOTICE TO BUYER: The brokers have no knowledge of any defects in the Property other than what has been disclosed in the Seller’s Disclosure Notice or other written information the brokers may have provided. The brokers have no duty to inspect the property for unknown defects. It is the Buyer’s responsibility to have inspections completed.
Another notice to the buyer closes out the form. This one advises the buyer that the brokers do not have knowledge of any defects with the home other than what has already been outlined in the Seller’s Disclosure Notice or other sources the brokers may have provided (such as inspection reports). It also states that the brokers are not responsible for inspecting the home for any unknown issues or defects and once again advises that the buyer should have inspections completed on the home (although at this point, it would be a little late!). This section serves to remind the buyer of both their responsibility (inspections) and the brokers’ responsibilities (disclosure of known defects).
That’s all there is to the Buyer’s Walk-Through and Acceptance Form. Short and sweet, this form does wield great power. By notifying and reminding the buyer that they should inspect the property and getting it in writing as to whether they did or not, this form helps provide some protections should issues arise after closing.
We can’t say it enough – get a home inspection. Every time. Any time you don’t get an inspection, you are taking a giant risk that may cost you dearly further down the road. There’s a reason the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a form, “For Your Protection: Get a Home Inspection,” that you will often see and sign off on when you buy a home, especially if you finance the home with an FHA loan.
image courtesy of Daniel E Lee