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Taking Your Final Walk-Through Inspection

Home Buying Advice

All home buyers should plan to make a final walk-through inspection of their new homes prior to closing in order to make sure the condition of the property is the same as it was on the day you signed your purchase contract.

You should take an early walk through to check repairs agreed to by the seller, but this early inspection does not replace your final walk-through on closing day.

Checking Completed Repairs

Plan to verify that requested repairs have been made as soon as the seller notifies you they are complete. Don't put off this inspection, because if problems still exist you'll need time to get them corrected before closing.

If possible, the home inspector who discovered that repairs were necessary should accompany you to verify that repairs have been made.

Taking Your Final Walk-Through

Always do your final walk-through after the sellers have moved, but before you go to closing.

At this point you're not inspecting for repairs--you simply want to make sure that the home is in the same condition it was in when you signed the contract to purchase it.

  • Have items been damaged during the move? Inspect floors for rips or gouges. Look at the walls, especially around door frames that large furniture and appliances might have been moved through.
  • Most offers to purchase include wording that states that all major systems in the home must be working at the time of closing, so it's fine to do a quick test of appliances and other items such as the furnace and air conditioning. Those items should have been checked during the home inspection, but there's always a chance they've quit working since that date.
  • Make sure all items the sellers agreed to leave are still there.
  • Make sure all items the sellers agreed to remove have been removed.

If the condition of the home has changed since your offer to purchase it, you are in a better position to get the problems handled when you bring them to everyone's attention before the deed changes hands.

If necessary, repair or replacement funds can be negotiated, deposited into an attorney's trust fund, then drawn on to bring the home back to the shape it was in on your contract date. If you do not use an attorney to close in your state, ask your real estate agent for advice on how to proceed. It's usually best to hold back an amount that exceeds the estimate for making repairs.

An alternative is to negotiate a flat amount to be paid to you at closing. Or, if damage is excessive, you might prefer to delay closing until repairs are made.

The final walk-through is not the time to do a home inspection. It's simply an opportunity to make sure that the home being conveyed to you is the home you agreed to buy.

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