Buying a home is like going on a journey, you must stay focused throughout the entire trip. From the completion of the mortgage application, to visiting properties, making an offer and finally getting the home inspection - it all could take weeks or even months.
An extremely important final step before the closing is the final property walk-through. For some buyers, this critical task may not seem that important, but if a buyer knows what he should be looking for, a thorough walk-through can alert a buyer of expensive issues that may have been missed during the home inspection or of contractual repairs that were not performed correctly.
When you are doing the final walk through, make sure the property is in the condition you agreed to in the Purchase and Sales Agreement. Let’s understand that a final walk-through is not a home inspection. The goal of the final walk-through is to ensure the home is in the same condition as when you last viewed the property and equally as important to check that all repairs agreed upon with the seller were performed.
Who should attend the final walk-through? Generally, the buyer and the buyer’s agent will attend without the seller and seller agent. This allows the buyer the freedom to inspect the property at their leisure without the seller or the seller’s agent. In cases of new construction, the contractor or builder may request to be present, as a new building walk-through will be looking for both defects in the construction as well as any cosmetic issues. Most buyers expect a new home to be pristine - however in many instances this is not the case and the final walk-through is extremely valuable.
In most cases the final walk-through is scheduled the same day as the closing or within 24 hours prior to the closing date. I suggest you work with your real estate agent to establish a time with the seller’s agent as to when you can access the property and when the property will be vacant during your visit.
So, the final walk-through day has arrived. Depending on the size of the house, the walk-through can take between 30 to 60 minutes. Don’t forget about inspecting the exterior including the detached garage, sheds or pool area. Remember, this is your last opportunity to give your new home a final once over before it’s yours. Take your time!
To be certain your new home is move in ready, make yourself a checklist of things you want to review during the inspection, such as the property disclosure, inspection report and any repair amendments you and the seller agreed on and receipts of work performed.
Last week, Maine residents experienced a nasty nor’easter causing significant property damage throughout the state. When mother nature does not cooperate with your plans to close, I strongly suggest you consider rescheduling or repeating the walk-through. A walk-through will help you determine if any damage was caused by the storm and give the buyer the recourse to have the seller make the repairs before you close. The most common damage we are looking for includes water intrusion, fallen trees and related structural damage. Your mortgage lender may require the damage be remedied before the loan is approved.
If you are considering purchasing a home in the future, make the final walk-through inspection an important component of the home purchase experience. Take the time to protect yourself and your new home.
This article was brought to you by Kevin Ronan, an associate broker affiliated with Alliance Realty, located at 290 Bridgton Road in Westbrook. If you have any questions or need any assistance with your real estate needs please contact him at, Kronan388@gmail.com or 207-838-4855.