How To Resolve Problems on the Final Walk-Through

Couple sits in the window of their new home

The purpose of the final walk-through is to make sure the home is in acceptable condition before the sale is finalized. It’s unusual for problems to crop up this late in the homebuying process — but it’s possible. Here are some problems to look out for, as well as potential ways to resolve them.

10 Common Walk-Through Problems To Look Out For

Here are some not-so-uncommon issues that can arise during the final walk-through:

  1. The seller hasn’t moved out all their belongings. If the seller moved out quickly and left behind items they neither want nor need, you shouldn’t be responsible for taking out their trash.
  2. The home was damaged when the seller moved out. Moving large, heavy items out of the home can damage the walls or floors. The final walk-through is your chance to make sure the home has been left unscathed.
  3. The seller removed items that were part of the sale. If the seller took appliances that were supposed to come with the house, you’ll want to sort that out before closing.
  4. The home hasn’t been left “broom swept.” Many purchase agreements require that homes be left “broom swept,” which means that at a minimum the home has been swept and vacuumed.
  5. Agreed-upon repairs haven’t been made. If the home inspection revealed certain repairs were needed and the seller agreed to handle them, you’ll want to make sure they’ve been completed.
  6. Appliances aren’t working. Buying a home is already expensive. Imagine moving in only to find that you immediately need to purchase a new refrigerator or dishwasher.
  7. Utilities have been shut off. You can’t move into a home that lacks running water or electricity. Be sure to test all the outlets and lights to check that the power is on and functional.
  8. Heating and cooling systems aren’t working as expected. Depending on the age of the home, the heating and cooling systems may be compromised. Double check to confirm that you can control the temperature of the home.
  9. You find a leak or mold. Mold isn’t just dangerous — it can be very expensive to remove. Water damage from leaks also can cost thousands of dollars to fix.
  10. There are problems with the plumbing. Make sure that the toilets flush completely and the drains aren’t clogged.

Read More: 6 Helpful Tips for Buying a New Home

7 Ways To Resolve Walk-Through Problems

If you find an issue during the final walk-through, here are some steps to take:

  1. Notify your real estate agent. You’ll be able to lean on your real estate agent or Realtor for their experience and expertise. They’ll know how to communicate with the seller’s agent.
  2. Work with the seller. If certain repairs are needed, you can negotiate to have the seller make them before closing.
  3. Delay the closing date. If the repairs will take some time to finish, then you may decide to push your closing date until they’re complete.
  4. Hold back escrow funds. If the seller is unwilling to handle certain repairs, another option is to withhold a portion of their proceeds to cover those costs.
  5. Renegotiate the sale. You also potentially can renegotiate the purchase price if you’ve determined that the home is coming with a defect.
  6. Cancel the sale. If the issue is serious and you’re unable to resolve it, you may be able to walk away from the deal.
  7. Take legal action. In extreme cases, you may decide to hire a lawyer and consider filing a lawsuit. A closing attorney can represent you in any legal disputes.

FAQ: Resolving Home Walk-Through Problems

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about resolving problems that pop up during the final walk-through.

Can the seller cancel the deal after the final walk-through?

It’s uncommon for the deal to fall through after the final walk-through, but it can happen. The sale isn’t final until closing, which means the seller or buyer could back out before then. Some sellers may have an emotional attachment to the house and are unable to part with it.

How much does it cost to delay closing?

Your purchase agreement may allow for a short extension from your closing date to accommodate basic repairs and fixes. However, you may have to begin paying daily interest charges if you push your closing date beyond one month.

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