Homes aren't cheap - even the lower priced ones aren't cheap. Sounds simple enough doesn't it? Sure it does!
Let's imagine that you have contracted to purchase your home and closing day has arrived! What an exciting day!! There are many details. You need to get your cashier's check, make sure you have your photo id, sign the documents at closing, make sure the movers arrive, switch over utilities, and the "to do" list grows from there. Even with all of the things that need to be done - don't skip your walk through!
I'm going to let you in on something your buyer's agent should be taking care of with you. In case they're not doing their job (and sometimes, unfortunately, they don't) make sure you protect yourself from getting burned.
The last time you've been in your new home is most likely when you did the inspection. You assume the sellers have moved out, cleaned the home, and made all of the repairs they agreed to after the inspection. Should you assume these things? NO!!! I've had clients say to me, "The house was vacant when we contracted, so I'm sure it's in the same condition, right?" My personal opinion is that a walk through is just as important (if not more so) with a vacant home as it is with an occupied home.
Your purchase contract should contain a clause giving you the opportunity to walk through the property before closing to ensure the property is in the same condition you found it in. One thing to understand about closing on a property is that immediately after signing on the dotted line, the house is YOURS and you are responsible for it. Why is this so important to know?
We're going to use our imagination a little more, ok? (Some people call me paranoid - I call it being realistic.) You close on your fantastic new VACANT home and head over to move some boxes in. OH NO! The home has been trashed by vandals sometime between the inspection and closing day. Ok, so I've never had this happen, but could it? You bet and wouldn't it just ruin the excitement of closing? If you had found out before closing, the excitement would have been ruined also, but at least then it would still be the SELLER'S house and not YOURS yet! Even though this is a slim possibility, it's still a possibility. Don't skip your walk through!
A few years ago, I closed on a home that reminded me how incredibly important the walk through really is. I represented the seller in this particular transaction. This home was a steal of a deal as it needed quite a bit of updating and was priced accordingly. The buyer was represented by a 30-year real estate veteran in my community. She was a really nice lady, but didn't always have her head in the game unfortunately. The day after the inspection was done, I was presented with an inspection notice that was stapled to the inspection report and referenced the report for requested repairs. It is what I refer to as "lazy real estate" practice. Instead of simply writing out what they wanted, the agent had written, "Please see page 3, item 2" as though writing a complete inspection notice was apparently too much work. HA!
After negotiating the inspection notice, the deal proceeded on. One of the repairs was to a piece of siding with a hole in it. The repair was completed by the seller's son, since the agent hadn't asked for a professional contractor to do it. I saw the repair and honestly, it wasn't an awful repair, but it was obvious that it hadn't been professionally done. The day of closing arrived and I never got a call to schedule a walk through. We all went to closing and were done within an hour. Everyone went on their way, including my seller, who moved out of state.
Three weeks (yes, 3 whole weeks!) after closing, the buyer's agent called me to complain about the repair that was made to the siding. She said that it wasn't done properly. I told her that if she had done a walkthrough of the home with her client and said something before closing, we could have discussed it then. Since she didn't, in my opinion, this wasn't an issue that could or should be brought up three weeks after closing. She proceeded to tell me that she was going to call her client and call me back.
Surprise, surprise, she never called again. I'm guessing she realized that she didn't have a leg to stand on. Sound harsh on my part? It might, but please keep in mind that I represented the seller on this deal and she represented the buyer. I think I represented my seller's best interests. Do you think she represented her buyer's best interests? I don't. It's unfortunate, but not an uncommon occurrence.
Hopefully your agent will call you to schedule your walk through. In case they don't, please be proactive and call them. Don't skip your walk through!