Congratulations on receiving the Clear to Close and now you can do your final walk-through!
What is Clear to Close?
The Clear to Close from the mortgage lender and underwriter should arrive soon. This is when they have examined all the documents, bank accounts, etc., and given their approval for the loan. The Clear to Close lets us know that we can move ahead with closing on the home, and that they will provide funds for the purchase. Once the lender delivers the completed paperwork to the title company, we then set a signing appointment with your escrow officer.
Check out our page What is Escrow?.
Now that you’re almost at the finish line, it’s time to schedule the final walk through. This is a crucial step in the home buying process, as it allows you to ensure that the property is in the same condition as it was during the inspection. In this article, we’ll go over what you should check during the final walk through and what it is not.
Section 2: What to Check During the Final Walk Through
During the final walk through, you should:
- Verify that all repairs have been made. Make sure to obtain copies of paid receipts and any related warranties in advance of the walk through.
- Ensure that all appliances are still working.
- Check to make sure the sellers didn’t damage anything moving out.
- Look to make sure all items included in the sales price (lighting fixtures, blinds, curtains, etc.) are still there. This includes anything that was attached to the wall previously such as shelves, TV mounts, etc. unless noted as being excluded on the contract.
- Ensure that screens and storm windows are in place or stored somewhere.
- Test the intercom, doorbell, alarm, HVAC and hot water to make sure they all work.
- Verify that the property is in “broom clean” condition meaning it doesn’t have to be perfectly clean, but you have to be able to clear out any debris with a broom.
- Ask when the trash is picked up, where the parking is, where the storage unit is, etc.
- Get the garage door opener (if applicable) and any other remotes.
- Locate any instruction books and warranties for appliances and fixtures.
- Make sure all personal items of the seller and all debris have been removed including clothing, food in the fridge, etc.
Section 3: What the Final Walk Through is Not
During the final walk through, it’s important to remember what it is not:
- It’s not a time to have your parents, friends, etc. come look at the property or for contractors to give you estimates, etc. All of that can wait until the next day once you officially own the property.
- It’s not possible to begin moving boxes or other items into the property at the walk through. That has to wait until you officially close on the property.
- It’s not when we receive the keys. That will happen at the end of closing.
Section 4: What to Do if You Find Damage or Repairs That Haven’t Been Made
If you discover damage at the walk through or the seller didn’t repair something he/she was legally obligated to repair, you have three options
- You can delay closing by a few days/weeks and ask the seller to repair whatever items are damaged.
- You can ask the seller to put money into escrow to cover the cost of the repairs so you can still close on time.
- You can ask the seller to provide a credit to cover the cost of the repairs so you can still close on time, but have the funds to pay for the needed repairs after closing.
If the seller is not willing to do any of the above, you can cancel the contract and walk away from purchasing the property. However, this is the last option if we’ve exhausted all other options.
Section 5: Conclusion
The final walk through is a critical step in the home buying process. By following this checklist, you can ensure that the property is in the same condition as it was during the inspection. If you find any issues, don’t panic – there are options available to you. By addressing any concerns before closing, you can ensure a smoother transition into your new home.