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Make the Most of Your Final Walk-Through
Closing day should be a time to celebrate the purchase of your new home, but before you sign papers and take ownership, you have one more chance to make sure there are no ugly surprises. At least 24 hours before your closing, you have the chance to do a walk-through inspection. I highly recommend doing this with your Realtor, so be sure to give him or her plenty of notice. You might also want to consider paying an inspector to come with you to make sure any repairs you agreed on after the original professional inspection were made correctly. Here are my thoughts on that inspection: The Benefits of a Thorough Home Inspection
Without proper instruction, many people use the walk-through as a chance to discuss furniture placement and paint colors, but you should also use this time to look at more serious issues. One way to be prepared is to bring a checklist to remind you what you need to inspect and so you can take notes if needed. There are several online that you could copy and/or print out if needed. Here is a pretty thorough one: Sample checklist
As you walk through the home, consider these broad categories:
Are the items that are supposed to remain in the home or on the property still in place? For instance, if the contract stated the play set would remain, is it still there? Are drapes and blinds still hung? Appliances still in place? Also, check to make sure there are owner's manuals and remote controls for anything important that must remain in the home.
Don't be afraid to spend time running appliances, turning on lights and fans, or lighting gas fireplaces or stoves to make sure everything is still in working order. Again, you don't want any surprises.
Check to make sure all areas are clean and completely cleaned out, including the attic, basement, and any outdoor storage areas. You do not want to be left with large items that are difficult to discard.
LEAKS AND MOLD
Check for signs of water leaks or mold. Your home inspector should have already done this, but water leaks can happen after inspections and mold can form quickly. Look under the kitchen sink, behind the refrigerator, around bathroom faucets, and anywhere else the water lines run. Mold is a nasty problem and it needs to be addressed.
Did agreed-upon repair work get done to your satisfaction? If not, you need to bring it up. You do have legal protection. If you find any new problems that need repairs, you will need to bring those up as well, but you may have to determine if the problem is big enough to walk away from the deal if the sellers refuse to fix it, or if it's something you can work with on your own.
If you are displeased with anything, discuss with your Realtor what actions you should take and use those hours before your closing to get everything taken care of. The goal is to be able to walk into your closing with confidence that the house you chose is in the condition in which you agreed to buy it, so make your final walk-through count!
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