Can a Seller Refuse a Final Walkthrough?
Selling a house is a big deal, literally and figuratively, which is why there are so many inspections and walkthroughs. It gives both parties the chance to check the house once more before the final sale. But can a seller back out of a final walkthrough?
A seller can refuse a final walkthrough as it is not legally required. However, this circumstance is extremely rare as this may result in the sale falling through or the buyer suing if the purchase agreement has been broken in any way. You can always ask for the final walkthrough to be part of the purchase agreement.
It can be very overwhelming to keep track of the ins and outs of selling a house. In this article, we will tell you all you need to know about a seller refusing a final walkthrough as well as what to expect at one! Let’s get started.
Can a Seller Refuse a Final Walkthrough?
A seller who is aware of a problem with the home – or simply does not want the new owner coming through when they are trying to prevent the final walkthrough. The buyer, on the other hand, is entitled to inspect the property. This right to inspect the residence is usually spelled out in the purchase agreement.
Due to the risk of the buyer withdrawing and suing for damages if the agreement is broken, it is extremely rare for a seller to decline the walkthrough, knowing that it exposes them to this responsibility.
They want to make sure the buyer sees everything they observed at the original showing and the house inspection so that everything is in the same condition when they take ownership of the property. That way, the buyer won’t accuse the seller of not delivering the home in the same condition they first saw it.
Is the Final Walkthrough Required by Law?
The final walkthrough is exactly what it sounds like: right before closing, the owner and buyer take a physical tour of their home. The goal is to ensure that the house you’re buying is in the condition you agreed to when you bought it, but it is not required by law.
Although the final walkthrough is not required by law, as a buyer, you should be extremely driven to follow through with it. You want to make sure that everything is running properly and that nothing has gone wrong as a result of the seller’s departure (if indeed they are no longer there). You’ll want to double-check that any repairs that were required as a condition of the sale have been completed.
Can a Buyer Back Out After the Final Walkthrough?
Because the last walkthrough usually takes place a day or two before the final closing, a buyer may decide to back out after the final walkthrough. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including an appraisal that is too low, a house inspection that reveals too many flaws, or a financial failure.
However, because the reason for a buyer’s withdrawal must normally be specified in the contract as a contingency, it’s difficult for purchasers to back out due to the final walkthrough.
Final Walkthrough Checklist
It’s a good idea to have a final walkthrough list with you because checking every area of the house might be overwhelming, and you don’t want to forget anything.
- Bring the inspection report. Don’t expect to recall everything that was written down. Check that what you see in the house corresponds to the inspection report, particularly the summary of required repairs.
- Test all of the appliances. Perform a thorough inspection of each of your appliances. This entails determining whether the dishwasher can complete a full cycle and whether the oven truly heats up. Dispose of anything that doesn’t work properly, and make sure you replace it before the sale. Or, figure out a negotiation with your realtor.
- Try out your HVAC system. No matter what season it is, your heating and air conditioning system, whether you have one or both, has to be examined. Check to see whether hot or cold air is flowing out of the vents. As long as it has the correct temperature coming out of the vent that’s reflected on the settings, you’re good to go.
- Check the electrical work. Check not only the lights but also the outlets, as they should all be examined. Bring your phone charger to make sure everything is in working order. The same goes for doorbells and any other technology that runs on electricity. Much of this stuff can be overlooked, so it’s important you take your time to check it all.
- Examine the kitchen. Are all of the shelves and cabinet doors functional? When there’s nothing on a broken shelf, it’s surprising how simple it is to tape it up. Examine the sink area for evidence of mold or leaks, which can sometimes go undetected while the house is still occupied.
- Tour the landscaping. While landscaping is normally included in the sale, some sellers have no qualms about taking plants, shrubs, and trees with them, despite the fact that replacing missing plants can cost hundreds of dollars. Do the sprinklers work, if there are any? Make certain to double-check.
- Take a look at the plumbing. Run the sink (hot and cold), turn on the shower, and flush the toilet to ensure that everything in your bathroom is working properly and that there are no plumbing concerns. If there are any fans, run them. Look for evidence of leakage under all of the sinks.
- Check the doors and windows: Does anything get stuck when you open and close doors? Are there any windows that have been painted shut? Are there any window screens that should be there but aren’t?
- Walk through the attic and basement. hese are the places where leaks are most common. Look for any issues with the walls, flooring, and ceilings. If there are any crawlspaces, you will want to check out these areas as well, as they’re the easiest to hide any major issues.
- Cleanliness. There should be no debris or personal objects left in a broom-swept residence. Are the walls and floors in good shape? Pets frequently create stains on carpets or floors that might be undetected until the previous owner’s rugs are removed. As they assist the home sellers in leaving, movers may cause damage to corners and floors.
Should the House Be Empty for the Final Walkthrough?
For the last walkthrough, the house should be empty; it’ll be much more challenging to check and make sure that all of the outlets are working. It can be hard to do this if there are sofas and mattresses in the way.
However, double-check your contract: for example, it’s usual for buyers to give the seller a week to evacuate following closing. You’ll need to check your particular contract.
What is “Broom Swept” Condition?
You’ll see that the purchase agreement stipulates that the sellers must leave their home “broom swept.” This means that the entire house has been cleaned thoroughly: the carpets have been vacuumed, the counters and cupboards have been wiped clean, and the floors have been swept.
“Broom swept” also implies that the house should be free of the previous owner’s personal items and debris, which means no trash bags or pieces of the seller’s belongings are left in the home
How Many Days Before Closing is the Final Walkthrough?
The final walkthrough is usually scheduled within 24 hours of the closing date. Your real estate agent can assist you in arranging a meeting with the seller’s agent when the property will be accessible and (hopefully) vacant.
This time frame makes it the most ideal as there was plenty of time to prepare the home and fix anything that was found during the inspection.
Can a Buyer Back Out After the Final Walkthrough?
Yes, a homebuyer can lawfully back out of a real estate transaction after the final walkthrough. According to research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), about 5% of real estate contracts are terminated before they are complete. They often back out due to issues with the final appraisal amount but there are other reasons as well, such as the inability to acquire financing, the results of a title survey or home inspection, or an unanticipated problem.
However, there are some disadvantages to canceling closing that is not covered by contingencies, such as getting cold feet. Buyers put down a deposit known as “earnest money” when they sign the sales contract. You, as the seller, will keep the deposit if the buyers change their minds about a certain house owing to cold feet.
Why is There a Final Walkthrough Before Closing?
Many buyers and sellers are unfamiliar with the concept of a final walkthrough and why it is so crucial. In real estate, a final walkthrough is simply the final inspection of a home prior to the signing of all the documents that make the transaction official.
The time it takes to do a final walkthrough will be determined by the terms of your local real estate purchase and sale contract.
Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.
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