PROPERTY CONDITION and DISCLOSURE - - THE FINAL WALK-THROUGH? Or, the Final Frontier? #3 in a Series.
PROPERTY CONDITION AND DISCLOSURE - FINAL WALK-THROUGH. #3 in a Series.
Why NOT Do A Final Walk-Through?
Seems to me that, if an action is important enough to be included in the Contract of Sale, it's important enough to be performed and taken seriously by buyers, sellers and the agents involved.
HAVE A LIST OF THINGS TO TEST OR OBSERVE.
We have a real estate board approved form that lists all items that should be examined or tested.
TIMING IS IMPORTANT
When to perform the final walk-through usually depends on whether or not repairs were included in the home inspection contingency. If the agreed upon repairs were extensive, we try to do the final walk-through 3-5 days prior to settlement to give us time to examine the work and, if the repairs are not satisfactory, give the agents the time necessary to clear matter up prior to settlement. We find that sellers often want to do repairs at the last minute to make sure the buyers are going to close.
If there were no repairs pursuant to the home inspection, we usually do the final walk-through closer to settlement. This is the opportunity to walk the vacated property and make sure it's in the same operating condition as of the date of the home inspection and the "free of trash and debris" clause is satisfied.
The Final Walk-Through is important for all parties and agents. The use of a form that lists items to be covered is extensive so sufficient time needs to be scheduled. It is essential that all utilities be on and items to be tested operative. Swimming pools, air conditioners may not be able to be tested during cold weather so an escrow may be held at settlement with the walk-through for those items delayed. A HOME WARRANTY helps in these cases. More on that on another date.
Some items that we cover, depending on the property are:
Alarms - This may not be connected.
Carpet - Are there new spills or stains since the home inspection?
Fireplace Screen Doors - Fans
Central Vac if installed
Clothes Washer and Dryer if conveyed in the contract
Dishwasher (We start that first since it takes time to cycle)
Hot Tub Equip. and Cover if conveyed
Draperies/Curtains if conveyed in the contract
Pool equipment/cover is seasonal
Refrigerator, Ice Maker if conveyed in contract
Water Softener or Filter equipment
Heating and Cooling systems
PROOF OF REPAIRS. If repairs to major systems, roof, etc. were included in the Home Inspection, proof of the repairs is provided with PAID RECEIPTS from licensed contractors that completed the repairs.
WHAT IF THE OWNER SWITCHES FEATURES? That does happen and it's far better to find out a few days prior to settlement than have the buyers go to their newly purchased home and find that the owner has replaced items after the home inspeciton. Over the years I've had transactions where the sellers have:
Removed the dining room chandelier and replaced it with a ceiling cap claiming that there was never a chandelier.
Switched a top of the line washer and dryer with a Sears economy model.
Replaced a kitchen oven range with a self-cleaning oven with a cheap model, not self cleaning.
In all of the cases the seller agreed to compensate the buyer with,
$1,500 for the chandelier.
Replace the cheap washer/dryer with a top of the line new washer/dryer.
Reinstall the self-cleaning oven range that was in the home at the home inspection.
DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. The form is signed by the buyer following the walk-through. Any items found deficient will be presented to the title attorney with a $Dollar amount to be charged to the seller and credited to the buyer.
SELLER DOESN'T WANT TO COMPLY? If the seller doesn't agree to pay for items not working at the final walk-through, the transaction isn't going to close. Of course, the amount is negotiable. The seller isn't going to get their proceeds unless they comply with the terms and conditions of the contract which include the home inspection and walk-through matters.
If a home inspection has included a large number of repairs and especially expensive repairs/replacements, the buyer may engage the home inspector to do a Final Walk-Through re-inspection.
Once that transaction is closed, it needs to stay closed.
#1 in Series: Property Condition and Diclosures, A Rant
#2 in Series: Property Condition and Disclosure, Disclosure or Caveat Emptor
#3 in Series: Property Condition and Disclosure - The Final Walk-Through
Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988.
YES, THE BUYER'S AGENT SHOULD ATTEND THE FINAL WALK-THROUGH.
Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988
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