Handling Closing Problems and the Final Walk-Through

A couple doing the final walk-through before their home purchase

What this article is all about:


The Final Walk-Through

Do a final walk-through of your new home within 24 hours of closing to verify that nothing has materially changed since the home inspection, that the seller has completed any required repairs and has left the home in clean condition. None of the seller’s personal property should be left behind, unless it was included in the purchase contract. Make sure floors are swept, carpets vacuumed, bathrooms cleaned, kitchen cabinet interiors wiped down and no mountain of garbage left on the curb.

Run any appliances, hot and cold water, and flush the toilets to make sure they are working properly. If there are problems, or it appears that the owners can’t vacate the home and deliver it to you at closing, tell your real estate agent or attorney.

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Potential Closing Complications

If there are any repair issues, work them out with the seller at closing. You can ask him to compensate you for uncompleted repairs or for newly discovered damage to the property. To eliminate tension, your requests for credit should be reasonable.

On closing day, the title company will have completed a title search on your new home to discover any issues that could cloud your title. These issues might have to be resolved at the closing by all parties. Your attorney should examine the property survey and the legal description to verify that the diagram accurately represents the parcel of land you’re buying. If there are problems with either of these documents, they need to be resolved at the closing while everyone is present.

Among the most nagging closing problems is when the mortgage funds from your lender are late or fail to arrive. Most lenders today wire the funds electronically, routing the money from your lender’s account to the Federal Reserve and then on to the title company’s account. Depending on the time of day the wire was sent, the funds won’t always arrive in time. So the first thing you do when you walk through the door at your closing is ask, “Have the mortgage funds arrived?”

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Keys and Other Items to Get from the Seller

During the walk-through, you should find the manuals for appliances, furnace and air-conditioner. If the home you’re buying has automatic garage door openers, they should be left out for you to test. Lastly, make sure you receive all the keys: a complete set to every door lock in the house, basement, shed and garage. And don’t forget to get the alarm codes. If you bought a condo, make sure that you’ve received the mailbox, storage locker, and unit keys.

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