Your home most likely is your biggest investment, and when you've been through all the steps required to purchase the property, from negotiating the purchase price to securing the mortgage loan, you're understandably a bit antsy to sign the final papers, get the keys and move in.
But there is one step you shouldn't skip or rush: the final walk-through.
The walk-though gives you a chance to take one last look at the property before purchasing it, and this is your chance to make sure all terms of the purchase contract have been fulfilled.
Here are some walk-through tips:
- Schedule the walk-through to occur within 24 hours before closing. Your real estate agent will schedule that with the seller's agent.
- The buyers and the buyers' agent should attend the walk-through. The sellers or their agents should not be there. With new construction, the contractor should attend to look for defects or cosmetic issues.
- Look to make sure the property is in the condition you agreed to under the purchase terms. Are there damages that weren't there when you signed the purchase contract? Has the current owner let the lawn that was lush when you bought the house die? Have all agreed-to repairs been made? If significant repairs were to be made under terms of a home inspection, you might want to pay for another inspection before the walk-through.
- Do a second walk-through immediately in the case of bad weather. If Florida is pummeled with a big rainstorm, for example, the night before the closing, ask for another walk-through. You can check for damages the storm could have caused, such as water damage to the ceiling, fallen trees or sinkholes. In many cases, the bank will not close on the loan until damages are remedied.
- Don't rush the walk-through. Check out all the living spaces, the garage, the basement or attic), outdoor shed and the swimming pool. You'll want to make sure all have the appearance or function that you expect.
- While you're doing the walk-through, make sure things work as they did during the home inspection, including plumbing, outlets, light switches, fans, windows and doors, etc.
If things aren't as you expected them to be, say something. The sellers agreed the house must be delivered in a certain condition and must fulfill that promise. If they don't, your real estate attorney can assist.