Rectifying Final Walkthrough Issues- Don’t Get Stuck With A Problem



One of the final steps before closing on your home is the final walkthrough.  In some circumstances, your final walkthrough may not be as perfect as you expected.

What is the Final Walkthrough?

This is a home buyer’s last chance to determine if the home is being delivered as expected as well as what is stated in the purchase and sale contract. 

Your final walkthrough should be done just before closing and you should:

  • Check to make sure the house is in the same condition as you last viewed it.
  • Verify all systems are working, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, etc…
  • Make sure no damage has been done to the home since last seeing it.
  • Check windows and doors.
  • Make sure the house is being delivered as spelled out in your purchase contract.  Usually in broom clean condition and free of all debris and personal property.
  • Verify all repairs are done as agreed to between you and the seller.

While often things go smoothly at your final walkthrough on occasion issues may arise.  So what do you do to remedy issues?

Remedying Final Walkthrough Issues

Final walkthrough issues can encompass a wide range of issues.  Some common final walkthrough issues could include:

  • Agreed on repairs not completed or completed in a proper manner.
  • The home is not left in broom clean condition.
  • Personal property is left.
  • Damage has been done to the home.
  • Fixtures have been removed that were meant to stay as spelled out in your contract.
  • HVAC or an appliance isn’t working.

Immediately notify the listing agent of what is not right with your final walkthrough.  Better yet if you are working with a real estate agent representing you have them notify the agent.  Do not let the listing agent talk you into accepting conditions that are not acceptable.  Your purchase and sale contract should spell out the details.  Once you close you own the problem and it will be next to impossible to have the seller remedy the situation.

Be clear of what the problem is and what you expect for a resolution.  Remember if something is spelled out in a contract the seller is obligated and legally responsible to perform.

Solutions To Final Walkthrough Issues

Have The Seller “Fix” The Issue Before Closing

The simplest solution is to have the seller fix whatever the issue may be before the close.  If it is the matter of a quick clean or removing some items the seller can run back and take care of it.

Delay The Close

If the issues are a little larger than a quick clean by the seller or extensive junk removal than consider delaying the close until the issues are resolved.  Something like a repair that hasn’t been completed could take days to repair.  If this is the best solution for you make sure you don’t have any rate lock issues or your mortgage commitment expires in that time frame.

Escrow Money Hold Back

An escrow money hold back is where the closing attorney holds 1 to 1.5% of the cost of what an issue may cost to rectify.  Additionally, the seller agrees to perform by a certain date.  If the seller does not perform, the homebuyer is free to take matters into their own hands and submit receipts ton the closing attorney to be reimbursed.

A Reduction In Purchase Price

Sometimes both parties will agree to a reduction in the purchase price so the buyer can go ahead and get a property professionally cleaned, have debris removed, etc….

Buyer’s Walk Away

If the results of your final walkthrough are so bad and costly to rectify and the buyer and seller can’t come to terms, you could just walk away from the purchase.  Before making that decision consult an attorney to make sure you have the right walk away without losing your deposit monies.

Summary

If you do not close on time and expenses are occurred, talk to your buyer’s agent and attorney about being reimbursed for the expenses.  You could request a seller reimburses you if you have to stay in a hotel for a few nights and/or if you have additional storage and moving expenses because of the delay caused by the seller.

While things can get tense when final walkthrough issues arise, remember to stay calm.  There is usually a solution to any problem that can arise.

One last piece of advice, do the walkthrough when the house is vacant or almost vacated.  This could mean waiting until an hour before the closing.  Delivery of a home varies from state to state, but in Massachusetts the expectation is the property is vacant by the time of the closing.

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Kevin Vitali About Kevin Vitali

About Kevin: Kevin has been a full time agent for almost 18 years. Kevin works the Tewksbury MA Real Estate market as well as Essex and Northern Middlesex Counties in Massachusetts. Kevin is a regular blogger who enjoys educating consumers about how to make the most of their next home purchase or sale. Kevin can be reached at 978-360-0422.