When you finally sell your house, there’s an air of relief. All the stress of waiting for offers and negotiating is gone and you can now move on to the next real estate chapter of your life. But before you can officially say “so long” to your house, you need to take part in a final walk-through.
In essence, before everyone goes to sign the final closing papers, all parties will meet at the house for a final walk-through to ensure that nothing has changed in the time between agreeing to the deal and the closing date.
Real estate agents will tell you that often they need to slow their buyers down when going through the final walk-through. Most buyers are eager to get the process over so they can sign their name and move in, but a good agent will have them understand all that needs to be done.
Most walk-throughs are done the day of the sale, usually a few hours before the scheduled closing, but some people prefer to do a walk-through earlier so if there is an issue, it can be fixed in time.
Among the things that need to be done during this process are making sure all items have been removed from the basement, attic and garage; testing all appliances to make sure they are in working condition; testing the air conditioner and heating unit; running faucets and checking for leaks; and examining anything else that was in the contract that the seller was supposed to fix.
For appliances and HVAC units, ask the seller to provide receipts and warranty information in case something does go wrong.
Although it’s not a requirement, sometimes buyers choose to bring their home inspector to the walk-through, which costs about 25 percent of the original fee, but could be worth it if major items were supposed to be fixed.
If a problem does present itself, especially a serious matter that could cost thousands of dollars, a buyer can either get their real estate lawyer involved and have them try to work with the seller’s lawyer on a proper settlement, or leave it to their agent to work on renegotiation.
Often, a buyer can get a credit from the seller through a side document to deal with the problem or an escrow of the sales proceeds. If the seller isn’t willing to work with you, you may need to threaten to walk away.
Of course, that’s the last thing anyone wants, and in 99 percent of these cases, an amicable solution is usually worked out.