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The Final Walk Through


Today is about a buyer's final walk-through. You found a house, fell in love, put in an offer, and negotiated the price. You made it through the structural inspection, the mortgage commitment, and the water and septic tests, and the attorneys all played nice and scheduled a closing date. Whew. Now all you need to do is sign about 100 pages at the closing and the house is yours. Not quite. First you need to do what is known as a "final walk-through".

A final walk-through is conducted usually the day of closing (depending when the closing is scheduled for) or the day before. The Elmira-Corning Board of Realtors Purchase Offer covers the expected condition of the home at closing in 2 sections of the contract. Section 8, Buyers Possession of Property, where it states that, "the premises shall be in broom clean condition, free of debris and personal property not included in the sale", and also Section 14, Condition of Property, "Buyer shall have the right to inspect the property within 48 hours of the date of closing with all utilities in service".

So what happens during a final walk-through and what do you do if there IS a problem?

During a final walk-through the buyer and the agent checks to make sure the property is vacant (don't ask.....years ago I had a final walk-through with a buyer I was representing and the seller hadn't even started packing yet...long story), that the property has utilities (after being told when the closing date is the sellers and buyers will call the utility companies to have everything switched on that day), that everything that was supposed to be part of the sale (such as appliances, sheds, window treatments etc.) is still at the property (movers have mistakenly packed and shipped appliances that were supposed to go with the house), that the toilets flush, the water runs, start the appliances, the furnace and the air conditioner, if there is one. Why do all of this? Because once you sign the paperwork to buy the house anything that is wrong with it is now your problem.

So, you've done the final walk-through and found that some appliances are missing, or the place has junk and debris, now what? Don't panic or freak out. Your agent will contact the listing agent to find out what's going on. Maybe the movers accidentally took the washer and dryer, or the sellers are coming back later to get the rest of the items...whatever is wrong can be corrected. The agents will try to resolve any issue before the closing but sometimes the issue has to be brought to the closing table where all parties, including the attorneys, will work to address and remedy it. Sometimes it can be painful such as sellers having to buy another washer and dryer because the ones that were supposed to stay with the house were on a moving truck half way to Peoria, and sometimes it will be a credit at closing. The key to addressing any issue is flexibility. Almost anything can be remedied. So if you go on your walk-through and encounter a problem don't worry. Your agent has your back.

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