The Final Walk-Through
The process of buying a home can be an exhilarating time. First-time home-buyers may be just starting out after getting married and looking forward to starting a family. Families may be looking to move to a larger home as their family grows or empty nesters may be looking to downsize after the kids have moved out. All these stages of life are exciting times that can be punctuated by buying a new home that fits your needs and desires. The process of buying a new home can also be an emotional roller coaster as there are a million little details that need to be taken care of.
One of the more frustrating things to hear as the closing date approaches is, “the closing has been delayed.” There are any number of things that can cause a closing to be delayed. One of those reasons can be that the buyer found issues that need to be resolved after their final walk through.
What is the Final Walk-Through?
The final walk-through is when a home buyer and their real estate agent take an opportunity to go through the house just before the closing. The final walk-though, which happens after the sellers have moved out, gives the buyers one last opportunity to make sure house is still in the same condition it was in when they agreed to buy it. It is also the time they can check to see if any promised repairs were completed. Since the sellers have moved out, the house will generally have less furniture and stuff lying around. With the house being as empty as it will ever likely be again, the buyer can get a much better look to make sure there are no serious issues such has broken pipes, mold in the basement, signs of termites or other pest-related damage or any other serious and potentially costly issues that were not previously found or obvious.
Buyers are about to take on legal and financial responsibility for the house, so the final walk-through is their last chance to make sure there are no surprises.
Can an Unsatisfactory Walk-Through Delay a Closing?
If the buyers find something during the final walk-through that causes that much concern, then yes, the final walk-through can delay the closing. In severe cases, the buyer may even have cause to back out of the sale altogether.
Home Sale Contingencies are items that are added to the contract that must take place for the sale to proceed. If these contingencies are not met, either the buyer or the seller can back out of the contract. One of the contingences is based on the Inspection. The inspection contingency gives the buyer the right to inspect the home within a specified time. This is to protect the buyer by giving them an opportunity to walk away if the inspection shows serious and expensive issues. The inspection also gives the buyer the opportunity to request that certain repairs be made before the closing or for a concession to be made.
Let’s say, for example, the buyer’s inspection finds that the roof is leaking and has caused water damage in the attic. The buyer than requests that the roof be replaced and the water damage repaired before the closing can take place and the sellers agrees. If, during the final walk-through, the buyer finds that the roof as been replaced, but the water damage in the attic has not been repaired, they may have cause to delay the closing. Since the seller agreed to repair the water damage and it has not been completed by the time specified, the buyer may even be able to back out of the contract and walk away and even have any deposit they paid returned.
The final walk-through is a vital step in the home-buying process. It protects the buyer by allowing them the opportunity to ensure they are buying the house in the condition they expected it to be in. That doesn’t mean the house is perfect. If you are buying a 75-year-old house, you are not entitled to a brand-new house. There are going to be issues. However, any repairs that were agreed upon should be completed.
As the seller, the final walk-through protects you in that the buyer will see that you have completed the work you agreed to, so they cannot claim work wasn’t done after the fact.
The sale of a home is a series of a million little details that need to be taken care of. The culmination of taking care of those details leads to a successful closing. The last hurdle, and one of the most important steps in the process, is the final walk-through.