Walk this way!
Congratulations! You’ve made it almost all the way to closing, but before you sit down at the title company and sign the all-important closing documents, aren’t you forgetting something? The buyer’s final walk-through. This is one last opportunity for you to go back through the house you are buying to make sure that everything is in order. This is your last chance to make sure everything is exactly as you expected it and that the sellers didn’t change anything or cause any damage to the home. At the closing table (or at the home if your agent brings the form with them), you’ll sign off on a form called the “Buyer’s Walk-Through and Acceptance Form.”
When do you do it? If repairs were negotiated as a part of the contract, you’ll want to schedule a walk-through a day or two before closing. That way, if anything is incomplete or not done to your satisfaction, there’s still time to resolve the issue before closing. It’s always a good idea to do another walk-through the day of or evening before closing.
What are you looking for? First and foremost, you want to make sure the house is still standing and in the same condition (or better) than when you first made your offer on the home. If suddenly there are giant holes in the walls or missing items that should stay with the house, that’s not a good sign. Or if the seller hasn’t even begun packing (believe us – it happens) then you know you have a few bumps ahead that you still need to tackle.
If all meets your expectations, proceed ahead, go to closing, sign those documents, and prepare for your new home.
If things are amiss, you do have options. Most commonly those options include delaying closing (hours or days, depending on the situation) or re-negotiating money in lieu of repairs.
If you’re leasing the property back to the seller, you will still want to do the “final” walk-through before closing. Recognize that the seller will still have furniture in the home, but it’s still great for peace of mind and checking in on the condition of the home. Don’t be afraid to take pictures. You’ll want to do another walk-through when the sellers move out as well.
image courtesy of Tim Green aka atoach