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The Final Walk-Through: What To Know

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Part of the home-buying process often results in anxious waiting period before the home is really used. You have your home financing in place, the closing date is set and now you must wait. Home contracts often contain provisions known as contingencies and some of the related issues must be seen to before the home can close. Read on for some information about taking your final walk-through and how to handle it.

What a walk-through is not

Your home inspection should have taken place several weeks or months ago and it should have been performed by a professional inspector. If problems are found and the seller agrees to have those issues taken care of by the closing, the final walk-through verifies that those problems have been corrected. Now is not the time to find and hold the seller accountable for things the inspection missed the first time around.

Why have a final walk-through?

When time is short between the contract or inspection and the closing, not everything on the contingency list may get accomplished. Don't be tempted to skip this important step, no matter how much confidence you have in the seller to get the problems addressed in a timely manner.

Vacant homes can signal trouble

If your seller has already moved out, the problems that could crop up before your final visit are enumerable.

For example, what if the heating was turned off and the pipes in the house froze and burst? You may have a mess on your hands that should not be your responsibility. A vacant home might lead to several issues, such as:

1. A raccoon family found an opening in the fascia and has made the attic their new home.

2. A faucet was dripping and went unnoticed, but a plugged sink caused the sink to overflow and ruin the flooring and the ceiling of the downstairs.

3. While the home was left unattended, a tree root intruded into the main sewer pipe and caused city sewage to flow into the master bathroom in the home.

These are all expensive issues that need to be addressed with the seller before the closing date comes and goes.

What to check for

Take care to look for the following issues during your final walk-through:

  1. Turn on every faucet and look for leaks
  2. Turn lights on and off
  3. Check the operation of all appliances
  4. Flush toilets and run water in tubs, showers and sinks
  5. Check the garage door opener
  6. Look at the floors, walls and ceiling for signs of mold or water damage
  7. Turn on the heating and air-conditioning system

You can count on your real estate agent to help you ensure that everything is in tip-top shape before you sign those final papers and take ownership of your family home.