Several weeks or even months can pass between the day you put an offer on a house and the day that you close escrow and take possession of it. In between a lot can happen that can affect the condition of the property, such as a leaky roof, a dripping faucet or stains on the carpet.
The AAR Residential Resale Real Estate Purchase Contract states that “Seller warrants and shall maintain and repair the Premisis so that at the earlier of possession or COE: (i) all heating, cooling, mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems (including swimming pool and/or spa, motors, filer systems, cleaning systems and heaters, if any), free standing range/oven, and built-in appliances will be in working condition”.
It is imperative that you and your REALTOR® do a final walkthrough prior to closing to assess the condition of the property to ensure that it is in relatively the same condition as the day that you signed the contract. As you walk through the home with your agent, use a checklist as a guide to help you make sure everything is working properly and note any questions that you might have. Below are just a few items in a typical checklist.
Plumbing: Flush all toilets and check for leaks. Do they keep running after they flush? Run the sink and shower faucets and check for proper drainage. Also run the water long enough to ensure that the water heater is functioning.
Electrical: Make sure the utilities are on, especially if the home has been vacant for a long time. Operate all of the lights, switches and ceiling fans. Verify that the oven, microwave and dishwasher all turn on and function properly.
Heating and Air Conditioning: Use the thermostat to operate the heating and cooling systems and check all of the registers.
Outside: Walk around the property and verify that all of the landscaping is in similar condition as the day you wrote the contract. Also look for broken windows or damaged stucco. If there is a pool, check the motor and other related equipment for leaks.
General: Open and close all windows & doors to verify that they operate properly. Look for stains on the ceilings, as this might indicate a leaking roof.
The final walkthrough is also the time to verify that any repairs that the seller agreed to do as part of your inspection period were completed. As per the AAR Residential Resale Real Estate Purchase Contract “If Seller agrees in writing to correct item disapproved, Seller shall correct the items, complete any repairs in a workmanlike manner and deliver any paid receipts evidencing the corrections and repairs to Buyer three (3) days prior to COE Date”. If you hired a home inspector, they will typically do a re-inspection for a small fee. Depending on the agreed upon repairs this may be a wise option to take advantage of.
Verifying the condition of probably one of the largest investments you will ever make, prior to signing those final closing documents is one of the most important actions you will take in the entire home buying process.
John Karadsheh is a licensed REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Trails And Paths Premier Properties. He is also an Associate Broker, Accredited Buyers Representative and a Certified Residential Specialist. You can contact John with any of your real estate questions. Call him at (602) 615-0843, or go to his Web site at www.BuyAndSellAZ.com.