Why Doing a Final Walk Through is Crucial

When buying a home, you have the option of doing a final walk through to verify condition before you close. Some buyers want to waive this right, especially if the home they are buying is vacant. They figure the house probably looks the same as it did when they initially saw it and there is no reason to look again.  WRONG!

Here is my favorite story about a final walk through I did which ended up saving my buyers $26,000 in repairs:

It was the morning of closing. My out of state buyer was not in town for his closing. He would be signing everything through the mail, which we refer to as a mail-out closing. I offered to do a final walk through of the property on his behalf. The property had been vacant for six days. The sellers had moved out and the house was now empty. 

I opened the front door and could hear the faint sound of water running. I followed the sound into the kitchen, where I noticed a small pool of water underneath the refrigerator. I quickly grabbed some paper towels and attempted to mop up the "puddle." I soon discovered the entire wood floor was saturated with water and warping as a result. The warping continued throughout the kitchen and into the dining room. The adjoining carpet in the living room was also soaked. Then it dawned on me...there is a finished basement. If the water has permeated the main level, it has probably leaked down to the basement level, too.  

So, I rolled up my pants and proceeded downstairs to the basement level. I opened the door to the most horrifying scene, about an inch of standing water on the carpet. Water was pouring through the ceiling. It was even running out of the light fixtures. The sheetrock ceiling was so wet it had broken off in large pieces, leaving the above floor joists exposed. I made my way to the mechanical room, and when I opened that door there was a good inch or more of standing water all around the furnace and water heater. I quickly waded through it and managed to turn off every water supply and valve I could find. At least the water would stop running now.

I then proceeded to call my buyer and tell him the news. He could not close that day. For if he did, then he would own not only the house but all the present damage as well.

It turned out the source of the leak was the small water line to the refrigerator's ice maker. It had burst after the sellers vacated and had been pouring water into the house for days. Contractor bids for repair work came in at $26,000. Fortunately, the sellers covered the costs. And four weeks later the house was restored, and we were able to close after all.

But the lesson here is obvious. Always do a final walk through when buying a home. And if you, the buyer, are not able to do it in person have your agent do one on your behalf. It could end up saving you so much money!

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