The "Pre Closing Walk Through" A Last Hurdle in Your House Buying Olympics
You have made it to the pre-closing walk through. It seems like getting there should be a celebration. Maybe it even feels like a victory stroll as you hum the theme from Rocky. You really want the walk through to be your "Welcome to your new home party"..
There is nothing fun or entertaining about the process of purchasing a home. It is not a sprint, it is a long marathon where your privacy, integrity, life history, prior purchases, past educational expenses and a host of other personal matters are viewed and judged by strangers.
The Realtor has worked hard for you. They have earned the spot of trusted friends of the family who have worked tirelessly to help you obtain the American Dream. Up until now, they have worked without a penny compensation. Commission time is within sight for the agent, and you want them rewarded for their help.
Everyone is waiting you to take that victory stroll and utter the words: "yep...everything is beautiful. Give me a pen to sign those closing papers." The last thing you need or want is for something to be wrong.
UNDERSTAND ONE THING: YOU DO NOT OWN THE PROBLEMS IN THE HOME UNTIL THE MOMENT OF CLOSING With that in mind, be diligent and aware during the walk through. The last couple of months, the seller has the perspective and advantage of knowing that soon the problems of this house will be behind them.
Your Pre Closing Walk Through Inspection List
1. Determine if repairs that were noted in the inspection or occupancy reports and requested from the seller are completed. Obtain and review available receipts and work orders prior to the walk through.
2. Look for any active or new signs of roof, foundation or plumbing leaks.
3. Check all appliances to determine if they are in working order.
4. Run water in sink drains, check for hot water, flush toilets, and check under sinks.
5. Run the air conditioning and heating systems. Check air flow and temperature in all rooms.
6. Observe the areas and items that were covered or inaccessible during the inspection due to limited access, furniture and finishes.
7. Check intercoms, burglar alarms, lawn sprinklers, timers, and smoke detectors.
8. Check windows, doors, screens, and screened enclosures.
9. Look for evidence of sewer backups. Check for stains and lift the cover of floor drains to check for paper or waste under those lids
10. Use your senses. Almost everything that does not smell, feel or look good is not good for you or your pocketbook
11. Review the occupancy inspection and completed work. As one example of potential problems, removing the downspouts from the existing drains could cause foundation leaks.
BE CAREFUL: Never tamper with things you do not understand - especially electrical and mechanical items. A pre-settlement walk through is very important even though you have had a professional inspection. "REMEMBER" things can and do change between the time you sign the contract and the time of possession.
If you are unsure if the conditions of the home have changed do not be afraid to ask. That is the purpose of the “Pre-Closing Walk Through.” Most sellers are careful and honorable, but a few are not.
Be wary if repairs are not professionally done by a reputable company. Over the years, we have found new defects caused by improper repairs. One common example is gas leaks. . Repairing one pipe can loosen the next fitting.
If the seller calls their previously hired contractor asking about defects they created that were discovered in the home inspection, there are contractors that would argue that there is nothing wrong. This can happen to avoid embarrassment or to pacify a seller that demands repairs at no cost.
Question work orders or contractor slips that say "inspected" rather than "repaired" or "repair not done because not unnecessary." Another common trick is that they checked an item and "did not see any problem". We have seen many cases where they must not have opened their eyes to see the defect.
Make sure that the repair person states that the item is properly operating and compliant with manufacturer directions and code requirements. Have potentially unsafe or potentially expensive repairs checked by another professional if you are concerned that repairs are not properly completed.
Final Words of Advice
- Call and ask your home inspector to ask any questions you have about repairs.
- Ask if there have been any changes to the questions on the disclosure. Obtain assurances in writing The faintest of ink is stronger than the strongest of words.
- Request information about contractors that have completed previous work in the home. Sometimes this will help you to find the best person future jobs. Other times it will tell you the company to never let set foot in that home again
Consider how important a problem discovered at the walk through really is. If it is a minor item, it may be an irritation, but not worth the stress of conflict or risking the sale. You are not buying the sellers or their integrity, You are buying their house and some battles are not worth the fight.
Do not despair even if there is a major problem. There are not many problems that money can't fix. Last minute repairs, escrow of money of hold back agreements are some of the tools available. Your Realtor, closing officer and mortgage professional are a team that can help get things back on track.
Download Article With Graphics Here
Download Dan's favorite Walk Through Form Here
Download Alternate - Preclosing_Walk_Through_Checklist Here