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Take a walk through home before closing

August 12, 2018 GMT

With only a couple of days left before closing on your new house, everything is almost official so why not take a walk?

Inspect the property one more time to confirm the condition of the house prior to closing. Spend 30 minutes to an hour walking around the place. You probably have dozens of things on your to-do list. After all, buying a house is a hectic time. But here’s why a final walk-through is a good idea.

The purpose of the final walk-through, which can take place two days or two hours before closing, is to make sure the property is in the condition you expected it to be in when you signed the purchase agreement.

Verify that all agreed-upon repairs have been made, no damage has been done to the property — especially if it’s vacant — and that all items included in the sales contract are present and in satisfactory condition.

What if the seller removed a ceiling fan without realizing that he was supposed to leave it or forgot to clean out all his junk in the attic? What if a wall or the floor was damaged when the seller was moving out? You don’t know what you may find.

Many sellers willingly fix problems that they may have overlooked in the chaos of moving or during the time a home was vacant. It’s beneficial for both parties to proceed with the transaction.

Any snags with completing the sale can add time and cost everyone money. Delays may be more than just an inconvenience, though. You may have a lock on an attractive interest rate that is set to expire, or the sellers might not be able to buy their next home without the proceeds from this sale.

The sellers may still be moving out during your walk-through. This might not be a bad thing. They may offer the manuals for appliances or show you how the sprinkler system works.

Ask for the contact information of plumbers, HVAC repairmen or similar people who have done work on the property.

Do your walk-through with your purchase agreement, the seller’s disclosure form and reports about any work that was done as a part of the contract.

Bring along your spouse or a friend, as it’s always helpful to have another pair of eyes.

The final walk-through is one of those little things that you can do to protect yourself from problems after the sale is completed. Verify that everything’s right with the house and, if you do find something unexpected, talk to your Realtor.

Most problems you discover can probably be taken care of at closing with financial considerations or other agreement with the seller.

For one of the best resources in Texas for buying or selling a home, visit HAR.com.

Kenya Burrell-VanWormer, with JPMorgan Chase, is 2018 chair of the Houston Association of Realtors/HAR.com.