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The Final Walk-Through: Issues and Resolutions
By Barbara Pronin
As the buyer’s agent, you’ve seen the transaction through a few bumps in the road—perhaps a bidding war, disagreements over terms or a glitch in loan approval. But now the deal is close to closing and one more hurdle remains: bringing in your buyers for what you hope will be an uneventful walk-through.

You’ve taken the time to explain beforehand that the walk-through is not a home inspection. That has been done by professionals. Your purpose now is to check that any needed repairs have been completed, and that the condition of the home has not materially changed since the time the contract was signed.

You’ve prepared your buyers with a basic checklist of what to bring and what to check. The list should look something like this:
  • Bring a copy of the contract, the seller’s property disclosure form, and the home inspection report. Check to see that all flagged items have been repaired, replaced, removed or left on site as agreed.
  • Check the heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Turn on the dishwasher and major appliances left behind.
  • Turn lights and fixtures on and off.
  • Open and close all doors and windows.
  • Run the garbage disposal, flush the toilets, and briefly turn on the faucets. Check for leaks or water under sinks.
  • Test the garage door opener.
  • Test the sprinklers
  • Check storage areas for paint cans other unwanted items left behind.
  • Make a visual check of the roof, landscaping, and grounds.
Typically, a home is expected to be left in clean condition. But be prepared that unless the home was purchased vacant, it may now look different to the buyers. Flaws in the paint or stains in the carpet are much more readily noticed. Minor damages may have occurred when the sellers were moving out. 

Experienced agents maintain a list of trusted handy men and vendors. Rather than deal with irate buyers or delay the closing and commission check, some agents will offer a referral to a reasonable, reliable repair person.  

If the problem is more serious – a missing chandelier that should have been left, or a leak in the plumbing or sprinkler system – it is your responsibility to at least point out the problem so that the buyer can address it. Work with your buyers to determine which issues are worth pursuing and which can be resolved without undue burden.

Handing over the keys to a happy buyer is one of the joys of your job. Managing a timely and productive final walk-through is one of the last steps to making that happen.
 
Barbara Pronin is an award-winning writer based in Orange County, Calif. A former news editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism and corporate communications, she has specialized in real estate topics for over a decade.

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