Closing on a Home? Timing, Eye for Detail are Crucial for Final Walk-Through

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Couple looking at their new home
Be sure to have a final walk-through before signing on the many dotted lines for your new home.

This is it! You’ve found the perfect Denver home for your family, you’ve jumped through all the hoops, and now you’re ready to sign on the dotted line (actually, many dotted lines). All you need to do now is settle on a closing date and arrange your final walk-through.

Different than a home inspection, a final walk-through is your opportunity to verify that any requested repairs have been made, and that all items included in the sale remain on site, all systems and mechanicals are still working, and that no additional damage has occurred since you last saw the property. It’s your last chance to make sure everything is as it should be before the property officially changes hands.

A final walk-through is normally quick and painless, but here are a few tips to keep in mind, just in case.

Timing Is Everything

So, when is the best time to do a final walk-through?

Empty kitchen before moving in

Before the final walk-through the previous homeowners should be completely moved out.  Photo By: Lara604 via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

First of all, you’ll want to make sure the sellers have moved out; it’s pointless to do a walk-through while they’re still on site. And you’ll want to do it before signing any documents. The ideal window is within a day of closing — or the day of closing, if at all possible.

“The good news for those purchasing a home in the Denver area is that Colorado is a ‘good funds’ state,” says Chris Vinci, owner of Evergreen-based Da Vinci Realty. “That means you can take possession of the home on the day of closing, which allows you to do your walk-through, confirm that the seller is out, run through your checklist, sign the papers and immediately move into your new home. Probably 90 percent of my clients take possession on the day of closing.”

Bring a List

The Realty Times shares some excellent tips for a final home walk-through. Here are a few highlights:

Damages: Has there been any damage to the home since your inspection or first visit? Determine whether any damage occurred to the floors or walls. Were rugs, artwork or carpets covering water damage that was not disclosed?

Visually inspect the exterior of the house — and please don’t skip the roof. Hail damage isn’t something you want to discover after you’ve taken possession of the property.

If you discover hail damage (or any other type of damage, including fire), Vinci reminds buyers that, according to Section 19.1 of the Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate, if damage amounts to less than 10 percent of the purchase price, the seller is obligated to repair the damage; and if it amounts to more than 10 percent, the buyer can terminate the contract.

Contract requirements: Confirm that the seller made all necessary repairs. If repairs haven’t been completed, make sure the seller has a written timeline for when the repairs will be done.

Be sure that any items that were to remain in the home are still there, and that they are in good working order (including light fixtures, appliances, furniture, curtains, and remotes for garage doors, alarms and sound systems).

Miscellaneous: Make sure that the landscaping is intact. If plants or shrubs were not specifically excluded in the contract, they should still be there.

Check whether the home has been cleaned, and the sellers have removed all their trash.

If you’re moving to Colorado from another state, you’re definitely not alone. People around the country are flocking to Denver. According to Visit Denver, the population is anticipated to increase by nearly 50 percent by 2030. What if you can’t be physically present for the final walk-through? Vinci recommends that you make a list of everything you want to verify and all the inclusions you want to ensure are on site, send it to your agent, and have him or her do the walk-through for you.

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