Inspections and a Final Walk Through (or two) just before closing can ensure a smooth closing and a happy-ever-after in the new home owner's castle.
Reinspect After Repairs Are Complete. When the initial inspections are made, if the Seller is to complete any repairs before closing, then the inspector should be scheduled to come back to see that the repair was done correctly. Most inspectors charge a greatly reduced fee for this reinspection. It's a few dollars to keep a new owner from needing to redo the repair again after closing.
Advice on The Real Estate Final Inspection & Walk Through
Walk Through Before Closing. This is the most frequent cause for an unhappy buyer after closing.
- The Buyer should do a walk through a couple days before closing.
- The Buyer should make sure that everything is in the same condition that it was in when they made their offer.
- The Buyer should also check that everything that is supposed to remain in the home is still there -- the fancy faucets and shower heads, the built in audio speakers, the correct appliances, chandelier and window coverings.
- The Buyer should check for damages that the Seller made while moving out. A hole in the sheetrock or a broken door jamb are things that the Seller should agree to fix. This is not the time to pick on "normal wear and tear" of moving such as a small black mark in the paint where a mover brushed against it.
The Buyer should check to see if there were any defects that the Seller concealed. Was obvious damage to the granite floors concealed with a throw rug? The Seller should have disclosed that as part of their requirement to disclose any information that is not readily apparent that affects the value of the home. By disclosing before going under contract, the Buyer can consider whether they want the accept the damage and move forward. When disclosed up front, cosmetic damage is not called to be repaired in the Florida Realtors/Florida BAR contract. However, if not disclosed up front, the Seller may have an obligation to repair the damage. Some items don't rise to the level of a need to disclose or repair, such as minor scratches in the wood floor left by a chair leg.
One walk through may not be enough. If the Seller is still in and out of the house, or still moving, then you may want to follow up with another quick Final Walk Through on the way to closing.
Use a Walk Through Inspection Form. When complete, the Buyer should fill out and sign a Walk Through Inspection Form. This gives the Buyer a place to clearly request corrections found in a Walk Through. When the Buyer puts the requests in writing, it helps separate the items that must be completed from the items that are minor. Immediately notify the Sellers agent if the Buyer had any concerns in the Walk Through.
Settle any walk through issues before closing. Get a credit at closing or a written agreement on how the item is to be returned or repaired. After closing the new owner is much less likely to be satisfied with the results.
The Real Estate Agent should help arrange these inspections, but should never conduct the inspection for a Buyer. There is no way for the Real Estate Agent to know which items are important to the Buyer. The Buyer may have fallen in love with the Tiffany cut crystal chandelier, and the Agent may not even recognize that it was switched for a chandelier picked up at the construction supply store. If the Buyer can't attend the Walk Through, they should have a friend or the inspector who did the initial building inspection do the Walk Through for them.
Do the final inspections and get the results in writing so that everyone will live happily ever after.