Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

What Do I Do if There are Problems at the Final Walk-through?

Posted in FAQs,General Information,Realtor's Job by Jeff Dowler on May 23, 2007

As part of the purchasing process you will have a final walk-through before closing to make sure all is well, no problems have arisen, and any repairs the sellers agreed to take care of have been completed. Depending on the typical practice in your area, this may occur on the day of closing (typical in MA for example) or earlier (here in CA it is generally done within 5 days of closing).

Hopefully you will not find anything wrong, and the house will look as it did when you made your offer, minus the seller’s personal stuff (unless they have until the actual closing day to remove them, depending on your agreement).

But sometimes there are issues:

  • Repairs that were supposed to be completed were not
  • Personal possessions remain
  • An item that was supposed to be there (a chandelier) was taken
  • You encounter new defects (e.g., a broken water heater, the stove no longer works)

What do you do?

First, you want to carefully document what you find in writing (your agent will be with you and can witness the problem, too). I advise buyers to take a digital camera on the walk-through for this purpose.

Second, your agent will need to notify the other agent about the problem you discovered (in writing), the work that has not yet been completed, and so on. Typically there will be agreement that this will be taken care of, or that there has been a delay in the repairs, and so on. Here in CA there is an escrow company involved and they should know as well.

If the time for closing is imminent, the next option is to withhold some of the funds at closing (this could be hundreds or even several thousand dollars) until the work is completed, the repair is fixed, the stuff removed. 

Generally this is not a big issue and the sellers are happy to resolve the matter quickly since they want to close to. But be prepared a problem may arise. But also be reasonable; if a bag of trash was left behind, I would suggest NOT making a big deal out of it.


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