Arguably, the most critical time in any home transaction is the final walkthrough. It's the homebuyer's moment of truth. The last opportunity to identify and address any issues or concerns before finalizing their home purchase.
It can seem like an obstinate proposition. Months of searching for the right home in the right neighborhood. A few more weeks of negotiations and inspections and document reviews and signings. And it all comes down to one last check of the house before the deal goes through.
And you, the buyer, is the one conducting the walkthrough. No pressure, right?
Thankfully, spotting any last-minute deficiencies or shortcomings in your future home doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing stress-inducing endeavor.
Quite the opposite.
With a sharp eye, attention to detail, and checking your more excitable emotions at the door, the final walkthrough is your last opportunity to ensure peace of mind before closing the deal.
Here are four things to look out for in a final walkthrough.
During your initial home inspection, no doubt some items required remedy by the seller. Even in the newest construction or best-conditioned properties, there's inevitably a repair to make.
From minor inconveniences to significant safety concerns, negotiated repairs must be completed with proof they were professionally addressed before your final walkthrough.
You and your real estate agent should verify everything was completed satisfactorily and according to terms. If not, don't be shy about making any deficiencies known to the seller and seller's agent to enforce the negotiated remedies.
It's relatively common in modern-day home sales for the seller to leave behind items such as paint, cleaning supplies, and extra materials such as floor or backsplash tiles. In such instances, these are welcome leftovers that may come in handy after you move in.
Small courtesy aside, you should not and do not have to accept a seller's unwanted junk. Be it old furniture or electronics, left behind clothes, or anything else that wasn't part of the negotiated purchase (effectively personal property of the seller), the responsibility falls to the seller to have it removed and the home completely emptied before you close the deal.
However, if your purchase agreement requires that something is to stay behind—a refrigerator, for example—confirm its remains. If not, you may seek a concession from the seller.
There's a certain expectation in every transaction that the seller leaves the buyer a relatively clean home. Some contracts even feature it as a clause. By no means a white-glove cleansing, at the very least, floors should be swept or vacuumed, and wet areas in bathrooms, kitchens, and utility rooms wiped down.
Even though you should temper your expectations of a spotless house, you should never walk into a home with newfound damage. If the home features deficiencies from the time after executing the purchase agreement, even if it's incidental (from the seller moving, for example), you as the buyer have the right to request the problems be addressed—even if it delays the closing date.
If it has an on/off switch, check it. If it dispenses or flushes water, check it. If it heats or cools the home, check it too. Follow the same process with appliances.
What you're looking for is that everything still works as it did at the time of inspection. Your goal is to ensure there are no last-minute issues or concerns that could cost you after closing. There's no worse feeling than being saddled with a repair that you could have avoided.
Don't forget to check the home's exterior as well—everything from the facade to the driveway and walkway to the landscaping and the entire backyard and patio. Same as you do for the interior of the home, if there's a problem, you can seek a remedy for it.
The final walkthrough is your last opportunity to guarantee the house you toured and inspected and negotiated for is indeed the home you're buying. Make the most of it.
Ready to sell your current home or in the market to buy and make your next major move? Contact Prema Subramaniam today and let her be your guide to East Bay luxury homes in Danville, Dublin, and Fremont, California.