Buyer's Final Home Walk-Thru... What's the Purpose?

Westcoe Realtors, Riverside Ca…One of our buyers asked us this question this week, and we thought any potential buyer of a home should know the answer…so here we go.

As a buyer, you do a final home walk-thru to verify two things: 1) that any repairs the seller was supposed to make have indeed been made, and 2) to make sure the home is in the same condition as it was when you made your offer.

Let’s examine these two items a bit further.

All agents should recommend a home inspection by a professional, and if as a result of that report the buyer and seller negotiated any repairs for the seller to perform, then it is essential that the buyer verify said repairs are done. This needs to be done BEFORE the close of escrow, because if they are not done, the buyer has the leverage of holding off the closing in order to get them done. Don’t get us wrong…most sellers understand this and make sure the repairs are actually finished, but sometimes sellers get in a hurry, or mean well, or whatever, but the end result is that some of the repairs may NOT be done. This is why the buyer needs to see for themselves what is (or what is not) done…and if you blow this off and figure all is OK, and then move in and find out the seller didn’t do what they promised, then it just creates a very large hassle to get them done after the closing. For all you know, the seller is now on their way to Wyoming, and good luck getting them to do a $200 repair. So…always see for yourself that the work has been finished.

Secondly, as a buyer, you want to make sure that the home is as you first saw it when you made your offer. You want to verify that the lawns are not dead, the pool is not green, and that the walls were not spray painted by the seller’s 5 year old child! Again, most of the time, sellers understand all this, but trust us…every Realtor has a horror story about what some seller has done on the way out the door, so it is best to verify a few days prior to close. Again, your leverage is delaying the close and keeping the seller from getting any money until you are satisfied with the condition of the home.

However…please understand that the final walk-thru is not for you, as a buyer, to re-negotiate the contract, or for you to call out repairs that were never part of the original repair negotiations. For example, if one of the bedroom windows had a crack when you made your offer, and it was noted in the inspection, and you never brought it up for repair, then 3-4 days prior to the close is not the time to address the window. You had your chance when the home inspection report was issued, and now it’s too late to spring this on the seller. In fact, the Standard Purchase Agreement addresses this issue of a final verification of condition (#15, page 7), and makes this all very clear for all parties.

In the end, all anyone wants is for both parties to be completely satisfied with the purchase and closing of the home…but sometimes it’s prudent to just make sure everyone does what they said they would do. After all, the saying goes….”Good fences make good neighbors”, and we can adapt that to “Good repairs make for a good sale!”

Take care, thanks for reading, and Happy New Year.

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