What is the Purpose of a final Walkthrough Before Closing on a Home Sale?
One of the last things to do before signing papers, transferring money, and receiving keys to making a home officially yours is the final walk-through. This is when you get to have one last look at the property before you officially purchase it. It is a very important step in the home buying process because once the paperwork is signed there's no going back to the negotiation table with the seller.
Final walk-throughs are not required in the home purchasing process but they are a very smart idea that many real estate professionals would advise depending upon how the due diligence and closing process of your purchase have gone.
It is important to get the most out of your final walk-through and make sure that this time is well spent. Especially if you had negotiations with the seller after the inspection.
What is a final walk-through in a real estate sale?
Most know that the process of buying a home includes attending a private showing after finding out that the home has been listed for sale. After you look at the home in person you then put together paperwork called a purchase offer and submit it to the current homeowner for their approval. Once the seller has approved your offer and both parties sign the purchase agreement the home goes into the due diligence and closing process. During this time things are conducted like the appraisal and the home inspection.
If there have been any changes or negotiations during this time then you will want to have a final walk-through even if it is just a brief time to look over the property one more time and confirm that everything that has been negotiated throughout the closing process has been done. This will be a chance to look into any issues that were found during the inspection that you negotiated with the seller to have addressed.
The final walk-through gives a buyer one final last look before they officially sign the paperwork and agree to take on full ownership of the property and transfer the title into their name as well as the agreed-upon purchase price over to the seller. In some states, the final walk-through can happen on the date of signing your closing paperwork. And in some states, it can even happen just hours before. It is important that you have your real estate professional with you during this final walk-through.
Things to look for during a final walk-through
There are three main things to keep in the front of your mind as you are conducting a final walk-through of a home. Whether any repairs requested to be made are actually made following inspection negotiations, the current condition of the home and whether it is as good or better than when you first walked through the property, and the presence of appliances and personal belongings in the home.
The final walk-through is a verification that you are purchasing the property in the status that you expected it to be and have agreed upon in the purchase agreement contract. Most of the time buyers will not find anything out of order during the final walk-through but it has happened where something funny or amiss has occurred. Such an appliance missing that was written down in the contract as being included within the home sale. For instance, the buyers expected the refrigerator to come with the home and it is now not inside the kitchen.
If something in the home is not as it was promised it would be by the sellers when they left the home then this could delay the closing on the home sale. It could in some cases even cause the cancellation of the sale altogether.
Another concurrence is the seller moving out of the home and leaving behind several things that they did not want to move because they did not plan on keeping the item. This now becomes a burden for the new homeowner in disposing of these items. A final walk-through helps to hold the home seller accountable for clearing out these items before the buyer officially takes ownership of the home.
As you conduct the walk-through make sure to check for any plumbing issues, run all of the appliances one more time to make sure they are in great working condition, check out systems like the air conditioning, and open and close windows and doors to make sure they are locking and working properly, check the automatic garage door opener, and conduct other activities of the like to make sure the home is in right standing.
What to do if you find something out of place in the final walk-through
If you find something is not the way that it was agreed to be during the final walk-through now is the time to address it before you go in and sign the final purchase paperwork. This is a good time to request a credit at closing because there's no time left to fix these items before signing closing documents. A credit through escrow is the easiest way to make the situation right.
For more information on purchasing a home in Boston and surrounding areas please contact us anytime.
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