Be Prepared for the Final Walk Through
Before the final closing on your Bergen County home you will have the opportunity to inspect the property again, also known as a final walk through. The main purpose to this inspection is to ensure that the property is in the same condition as day you signed the contract. You are making sure that the seller has lived up to his or her agreements in the sales contract. It is a good idea to schedule the walk-through as close to the actual closing as possible, typically within the 24 to 48 hours prior to closing. It is also advised that you do it after the sellers should have already moved out as there can be damage caused by moving.
What should you look for in a walk through inspection? To start with, you want to make sure that the overall condition of the home has not changed since you signed the contract. Below are some things you should look for in a pre-closing inspection.it is also a good idea to bring along a checklist so that there is nothing overlooked.
• Ensure that all required repairs have been satisfactorily completed or are in the process of being done
• Did the seller leave "junk” or debris behind in the basement, attic, yard or garage?
• Have the items that the seller agreed to leave been removed?
• Are the instruction books and warranties for any appliances or fixtures available?
In addition to looking at condition, repairs, and items remaining or removed, pay particular attention to key areas such as:
Major systems and appliances – Confirm that these components are in good working order.
Attic and basements/crawl spaces – Look for discarded items and potential problem areas.
Walls and floors – Check for any damage that may have occurred when the sellers moved or that may not have been obvious when you originally looked at the home.
Exterior – Check the condition of windows, doors, sprinklers, gutters, and landscaping.
Unfortunately, things might not go the way you think when buying a home. If you find during your final home inspection that the seller has not lived up to their part of the agreement, you want to know about it in advance of the closing so a solution can be agreed upon before money changes hands. If this occurs you do have options, it is a good idea to work with a real estate attorney to come to a satisfactory arrangement.
• Placing Repair Money in Escrow – One solution is to have the seller place the anticipated repair costs in escrow. It is important to make sure the amount is sufficient to cover the costs of the repairs. Once the money is placed in escrow, the funds can be withdrawn to pay for the repairs as needed.
• Reducing the Selling Price – Another option to resolve this matter is to negotiate the costs with the seller and have the costs of the repairs removed from the selling price of the home at closing. It is very important you have enough information to make a proper estimate of the repair costs so you can negotiate enough money to be able to make the repairs.
• Delaying the Closing - Finally, if you're uncomfortable with either of these two options, you may want to delay the closing itself. The details will need to be worked out with your attorney but it's not unreasonable to ask the seller to help you pay for costs that you'll incur because of the delay in closing on the home - especially if they've purposefully ignored the repairs in the first place and you're forced to live elsewhere and/or pay to have your furniture placed into storage.