Is a final walk-through necessary?
Is it necessary for me to do a final walk-through if a home inspection has already taken place?
Is it always necessary? No. Is it advisable? Absolutely.
Let me explain. Since you mentioned that a home inspection has already taken place, I am making a calculated guess here that you will be moving into this property. Unless you intend on completely rebuilding and renovating it, I highly recommend that you do a complete walk-through.
This is because home purchase closings can typically be anywhere from a few weeks to several months long — and sometimes even longer in Ontario. So, chances are that some time has already passed since the inspection took place and you have firmed up the deal.
If the home has been vacant for a while, there could be potential for issues like leaks caused by disconnected refrigerators or old plumbing. As such, a final scan will give you an opportunity to confirm that everything is still in the same condition as was noted during the inspection.
Though you might arrange a time for you and the seller or their agent to meet to walk through the home, your real estate agent should join you. Your agent’s knowledge and expertise can help inform what you should be paying special attention to.
Something worth noting is that clauses for final walk-throughs or pre-closing visits are often included in offers. So, check your agreement of purchase and sale (APS) to confirm that it’s there. If it is not included, speak with your agent to see if a visit can still be arranged. The best approach is co-operation but if the visit is being denied, you may want to consult a lawyer to help negotiate a solution.
During your final visit, you will want to verify that all items included in your APS are present and in the state agreed upon at the time of purchase. This may include checking items such as appliances, window coverings, electric light fixtures, electrical systems and mechanical systems to ensure they are fully functional.
To protect their clients’ interests, many agents also record appliance brand names and model numbers in the APS.
As a buyer, you may also want to document this type of information. In fact, it may be a wise idea to write down anything that’s important to you and share this with your agent.
Should you come across any unexpected issues, discuss it with your agent and real estate lawyer immediately. This is especially crucial if the seller’s insurance coverage is needed for any repairs. In such cases, both you and the seller will need to come to a consensus on the next steps prior to closing and add those to the APS.
While certainly important, walk-throughs don’t have to only be for the purposes of scanning for any potential problems. They can also serve as an exciting opportunity to take measurements for new window coverings, closet accessories and furnishing placement prior to your move date or even renovations you are contemplating.
Because buying a home for most people is the biggest purchase they will ever make, I believe a final visit is a worthwhile step in the process. Not only will it give you peace of mind that the transaction is proceeding as it should, but it will also eliminate the risk of any unpleasant surprises later.
If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.