Having worked your way through the trickiest aspects of buying a house, such as obtaining a mortgage and negotiating the price, it can be tempting to kick back and relax until your closing date. However, before you can close on your house, there is one critical thing that you will need to do – the final walk-through.
This final walk-through should be used to verify that any issues raised during the inspection period have been addressed, as well as to ensure that no new problems have arisen in the meantime. Your agent will be there with you, so put his or her expertise to work and let them guide you through.
George Campolo has years of experience assisting clients in real estate sales and purchases. A full-time Associate Real Estate Broker with RE/MAX Distinguished Homes and Properties, his business is looking out for his clients’ interests in an industry with numerous traps and pitfalls for consumers. Below, Mr. Campolo offers his approach to the final walk-through:
Start the walk-through by checking on any repairs the seller agreed to make after your home inspection was done. If there were complicated mechanical things beyond your knowledge that were supposed to be repaired, you might need to have your home inspector present for the final walk-through to make sure the repairs were done correctly. Think ahead when hiring a home inspector, and find out what if anything extra they charge. Some home inspectors will come back for the final walk-through at no extra cost; others charge an additional fee. Whether there were a lot of things needing repair identified during the inspection or not, you can’t go wrong having your home inspector present for the final walk-through.
Once you know the inspection items were taken care of by the seller, you want to see if you missed anything during the inspection or if anything fell into disrepair since. Check all the major systems first. Better if you miss a broken light switch than forget to check the A/C only to move in and find out it’s not working. Once all the big expensive-to-fix things like the furnace have been reviewed, you can check all the small things like light switches and sink drains. Don’t forget, things that were working when the inspection was done might not be working now, and the final walk-through is your last chance to raise any concerns you may have about such things. Few, if any sellers will give their buyers any consideration or adjustment for problems once the closing is done. If you spot anything that you think is incorrect or out of place, be sure to raise the issue with your agent who will be able to advise you on how to proceed.
Something IS broken, NOW what?
So, it’s closing day, FINALLY. You’re doing the walk-through at 10 AM, going to the bank at 11 to pick up bank checks, having lunch with your agent at 12, then heading to the closing at 2 PM, BUT, now there’s a problem with the house that was either missed during the inspection or developed between then and now. So, what DO you DO??
Well, there’s no time now for the seller to fix the problem, so it will have to be dealt with at the closing table. Depending on the type of problem and the cost to remedy it, one possibility is for your agent and attorney to work out a credit of an appropriate dollar amount to you from the seller at the closing, and repair the item yourself after you close. If it’s a costly repair, the seller may wish to have it fixed themselves. In this case, your agent and attorney will discuss a “hold-back” of funds of an amount adequate to cover the cost of the repair if the seller does not get the repair done and you wind up doing it yourself. One of the attorneys will hold money in their escrow account until you verify that the repair was made, after which the “hold-back” money will be released and given to the seller.
You can reach George at (914) 760-6858
About George Campolo:
George Campolo is an Associate Real Estate Broker with RE/MAX Distinguished Homes and Properties, serving the Westchester/Bronx/Putnam area and points beyond. Highly respected for his unique marketing strategies tailored to individual sellers, he also specializes in working with first-time buyers who might otherwise encounter the pitfalls often found when buying a home or investment property. Mr. Campolo’s clients come first, and he is a fierce advocate for their best interests.
George Campolo around the web: