In representing a buyer, how do you handle their final walk through? Do you have any set rules for this?
I found one that I stick to no matter. No more than 24 hours, preferably within 2 hours of, your closing a walk through must to be performed. And it must be performed by the buyers realtor and all buyers involved. And the second rule is that the property has to be 100% empty at that point.
If you are a buyer and don't get why this is important, then read on. Furniture, boxes and other objects can cover may issues. You absolutely must be able to investigate the home one final time, in it's empty state. Why? To see if anything has changed since you last saw it.
Case in point, a friend of mine a few years bought a home in WIlmington NC. The Realtor took them on the final walk through just a few hours prior to closing. The house was still full of boxes and so they were unable to really get in and see anything. In fact it was packed with boxes! They went to closing, signed all of the paperwork, and got the keys and went right to their new home. What did they find? Cat urine in bedroom carpets, so bad that they could not save it and even had to pull the subflooring below the carpet. Who paid for this? The buyers did, becasue they accepted the home as they saw it in the walk though. The walk through is to identify issues PRIOR to closing. These issues can get resolved before closing if found. Once the contracts are signed the buyer is out of luck.
Another reason buyers must inspect properties close to closing, is that anything can happen within the forces of nature. A tree can fall down on the home, winds can loosen shingles on a roof, or any number of other scenarios. Who pays for that? The person who owns the property the day the mess is discovered. If it is found prior to closing the seller will do it and more than likely they will have insurance to cover it. If you close and do not see the mess until after closing, then the buyer pays. Does a buyer really want to start home ownership with repairs and a fight with a new insurance company?
As Realtors we are held in a position to make sure that this does not happen to our clients. We need to be very careful about this rule. Always do a walk through as close to closing as possible, and always inspect the property when fully empty. As buyers doing the due diligence really does involve this point. Realtor or buyer, always insist on a walk through with an empty property the day of closing, hopefully within just hours of closing time.
Doing this can save head aches for buyers and Realtors alike.
Jerri McCombs, Advanced Virtual Assistant
828/553-5190 or info@JerriMcCombs.com