PROPERTY CONDITION and DISCLOSURE - - THE FINAL WALK-THROUGH? Or, the Final Frontier?. #3 in a Series.

By
Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372
http://actvra.in/z9m

PROPERTY CONDITION and DISCLOSURE - - THE FINAL WALK-THROUGH?  Or, the Final Frontier?  #3 in a Series.

PROPERTY CONDITION AND DISCLOSURE - FINAL WALK-THROUGH.  #3 in a Series.

Why NOT Do A Final Walk-Through? 

Seems to me that, if an action is important enough to be included in the Contract of Sale, it's important enough to be performed and taken seriously by buyers, sellers and the agents involved. 

Walk-through

HAVE A LIST OF THINGS TO TEST OR OBSERVE.

We have a real estate board approved form that lists all items that should be examined or tested.  

TIMING IS IMPORTANT

When to perform the final walk-through usually depends on whether or not repairs were included in the home inspection contingency.  If the agreed upon repairs were extensive, we try to do the final walk-through 3-5 days prior to settlement to give us time to examine the work and, if the repairs are not satisfactory, give the agents the time necessary to clear matter up prior to settlement.  We find that sellers often want to do repairs at the last minute to make sure the buyers are going to close. 

 

If there were no repairs pursuant to the home inspection, we usually do the final walk-through closer to settlement.  This is the opportunity to walk the vacated property and make sure it's in the same operating condition as of the date of the home inspection and the "free of trash and debris" clause is satisfied.

The Final Walk-Through is important for all parties and agents.  The use of a form that lists items to be covered is extensive so sufficient time needs to be scheduled.  It is essential that all utilities be on and items to be tested operative.  Swimming pools, air conditioners may not be able to be tested during cold weather so an escrow may be held at settlement with the walk-through for those items delayed.  A HOME WARRANTY helps in these cases.  More on that on another date.

Some items that we cover, depending on the property are:

Alarms - This may not be connected.
Carpet - Are there new spills or stains since the home inspection?
Fireplace Screen Doors - Fans
Ceiling Fans
Shades/Blinds
Central Vac if installed
Clothes Washer and Dryer if conveyed in the contract
Cooktop/Range/Wall Oven/Microwave
Disposer
Dishwasher (We start that first since it takes time to cycle)
Hot Tub Equip. and Cover if conveyed
Draperies/Curtains if conveyed in the contract
Pool equipment/cover is seasonal
Exhaust Fans
Refrigerator, Ice Maker if conveyed in contract
Water Softener or Filter equipment
Heating and Cooling systems

PROOF OF REPAIRS.  If repairs to major systems, roof, etc. were included in the Home Inspection, proof of the repairs is provided with PAID RECEIPTS from licensed contractors that completed the repairs.

WHAT IF THE OWNER SWITCHES FEATURES?  That does happen and it's far better to find out a few days prior to settlement than have the buyers go to their newly purchased home and find that the owner has replaced items after the home inspeciton.  Over the years I've had transactions where the sellers have:

Removed the dining room chandelier and replaced it with a ceiling cap claiming that there was never a chandelier.
Switched a top of the line washer and dryer with a Sears economy model.
Replaced a kitchen oven range with a self-cleaning oven with a cheap model, not self cleaning.

In all of the cases the seller agreed to compensate the buyer with,
$1,500 for the chandelier.
Replace the cheap washer/dryer with a top of the line new washer/dryer.
Reinstall the self-cleaning oven range that was in the home at the home inspection.

DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT.  The form is signed by the buyer following the walk-through.  Any items found deficient will be presented to the title attorney with a $Dollar amount to be charged to the seller and credited to the buyer.  

SELLER DOESN'T WANT TO COMPLY?  If the seller doesn't agree to pay for items not working at the final walk-through, the transaction isn't going to close.  Of course, the amount is negotiable. The seller isn't going to get their proceeds unless they comply with the terms and conditions of the contract which include the home inspection and walk-through matters. 

If a home inspection has included a large number of repairs and especially expensive repairs/replacements, the buyer may engage the home inspector to do a Final Walk-Through re-inspection

Once that transaction is closed, it needs to stay closed. 

#1 in Series:  Property Condition and Diclosures, A Rant
#2 in Series:  Property Condition and Disclosure, Disclosure or Caveat Emptor
#3 in Series:  Property Condition and Disclosure - The Final Walk-Through


Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

YES, THE BUYER'S AGENT SHOULD ATTEND THE FINAL WALK-THROUGH. 

Lenn      search     

Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988

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Rainmaker
1,013,524
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Melbourne, FL
Personal Service, always.

Final walk through is something an agent would be stupid to skip (too strong?).  I try to have repairs re-inspected by the appropriate expert several days in advance of closing for the reasons you stated.  Then, on the day of closing, on our way to the closing we do the final walk through.  Excellent series,Lenn.

Apr 23, 2012 06:11 AM #1
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Gary.  I believe you're following good practices. 

Over the years, I've seen this important step skipped or done poorly.  It's important.

I agree that it would be stupid to skip a final walk-through.  All it does is risk problems after settlement.

Apr 23, 2012 06:16 AM #2
Rainmaker
283,572
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Leesburg, VA

Final walk-thru is a must. I've had sellers at the last minute actually think they can switch light fixtures, refridgerators, etc, and take curtains and fireplace tools that they had already agreed convey with the property. When I'm working with a buyer, I take pics of everything that conveys if we are writing an offer, because I might not remember what those curtains and drapes looked like at final walk-thru. I would notice a stainless Sub-zero refrigerator was replaced with a black economy mode, but I might not notice if washer and dryer were switched with a cheaper model if I didn't have a pic and hadn't writen down the brand name, etc.

 

Apr 23, 2012 08:27 AM #3
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Jeff.  Right you are and I completely forgot about that possibility.

Thanks.  I'm going back to add a paragraph.  I've had some wild experiences with conveyances.

Apr 23, 2012 10:40 AM #4
Rainer
276,890
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

One thing that I do is take photos of appliances and fixtures during the inspection so that, if a dispute arises, I have the proof of what was in place at the time of inspection.  It takes no time and digital photos are free. Have a great week!

Apr 23, 2012 11:48 AM #5
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Kathryn. Great practice and essential when sending the cost of the replacement to the title attorney when we discover something is missing or replaced.

Apr 23, 2012 12:12 PM #6
Rainmaker
1,254,043
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That is a very, very comprehensive walk through!  I have to wonder if this is the norm, or if just a few actually do all this?

Apr 23, 2012 01:46 PM #7
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Jay.  Agents have their own procedures for walk-through.  I do a very thorough one to make sure the Home Warranty will cover any problems that arise following settlement.

Some homes, especially large older homes take longer.  We just leave plenty of time so the buyer can take their time, 1/2 hour is usually enough.  The walk-through on Gail's home took about 1 hour.  Very complicated property and there had been a large number of repairs made to check..

This is the last opportunity to make sure the house is conveyed pursuant to the contract.  Once it settles, the sellers are GONE.

Apr 23, 2012 02:23 PM #8
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Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

Lenn, it's such fun when they say there was no chandelier to whip out my IPad and show the virtual tour photos.  Et voila!  Looks like a chandelier to me!  It's hard to imagine how cheap some sellers can be. 

Apr 23, 2012 07:18 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,254,043
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That's pretty funny you say that Pat.  That happened just yesterday on an inspection!  The buyer, who flew in from Florida (sound familiar?), looked up at the dining room ceiling and asked where the chandelier was.  The agent didn't remember one, saying that the light there then was probably always there.  I chimed in that many of the lights looked new, and all from Costco.  The buyer whipped out his camera and there was the chandelier!

They found it later in the basement, covered with a sheet.

Apr 24, 2012 01:11 AM #10
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Pat.  That one was an experience.  When we did the walk-through and saw that the dining area chrystal chandelier was GONE, I called the listing agent.  She called the wife seller and the lady told her that there was NEVER a ceiling light in the dining area.  Amazing. 

It turned in to a funny experience because the wife had the condo (this was a high-rise luxury condo in Liesure World) folks remove the chandelier and she SOLD IT.  However, she didn't want her husband to know what she had done.  So, she quickly went to the bank, pulled out 15 crisp $100 bills and got them to us.  My buyer was very happy because she now could have the adventure of selecting her own dining room lighting. 

Fortunately, in that case, the listing agent was ethical and knew better than to implicate herself in the seller's action.  Once she was caught, the lady was more interested in her husband not finding out what she had done to jeopardize the sale.  My buyer was a CASH buyer and we were due to close the day following the walk-through.

 

Apr 24, 2012 03:26 AM #11
Rainmaker
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Ginny Gorman
Phillips Post Road Realty ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

Lenn, you bring up excellent points & no matter what a final walkthrough or 2 (sometimes we do one a week before closing to check repairs & as well same day as closing).  We have many agents here who never show up for walk throughs with their clients...perplexing.

Apr 24, 2012 04:02 AM #12
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Ginny.  Good for you.  This is a very important step for buyers and good risk reduction for agents. 

The trend for buyer's agents to do less and less is perplexing to me.

Apr 24, 2012 04:13 AM #13
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