If you are buying a home, your agent should recommend a walk-through of the home you are purchasing prior to the closing. The purpose is to ensure that the home is in the same condition as when you wrote the purchase agreement. It is not time for a new inspection, but to verify inspection requests have been completed, as agreed upon, the personal property is in place as specified in the purchase agreement, and all the seller’s belongings have been removed.
Here are some other items to check at the walk-through: turn on the heating, air-conditioning, appliances, and lights. Open and close the doors and windows. Run all plumbing fixtures, check for hot water and plumbing leaks. Test the garage door opener and sprinkler system. Check the ceilings for any obvious roof leaks, and walk around the property and look for anything that looks out of the ordinary.
Buyers and sellers have varying degrees of what cleanliness means. Often, the seller cleaned, but then the movers came and got the floors and walls dirty again. The seller may not have time to return to clean again before closing.
Moving day can be chaotic. If you are buying and selling a home on the same day, the movers arrive in the morning, pack up while you go to the closing of the house you are selling. Once you have your proceeds you go to the closing for the home you are purchasing. After closing you are given the keys you are running to your new home to let the movers in. By this time, you are concerned about cleaning the house you are moving into and not the one you just sold.
It is a good idea to plan to clean the home you are buying yourself or professionally, even if the seller agreed to do so. This will avoid added stress on moving day.
If repairs were not made as agreed to, personal property is missing, or the property has been damaged, your agent can negotiate an agreement with seller’s agent at closing. If you can’t agree on a settlement, you can refuse to close as the seller may be in breach of contract. Should this happen, you may seek legal advice. Although, I have seen many issues arise at a walk through, I have never had a closing where the buyers and sellers didn’t come to an agreement and close.
An experienced real estate agent, can guide you through the walk through process and negotiate issues that arise.
Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.