Final Walk Through in Silicon Valley Real Estate

When it comes to purchasing a house in Silicon Valley, the final walk-through is a critical last step before closing on the property. This process provides the buyer with an opportunity to verify that the home is in the same condition as when the sale agreement was made. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the importance of a final walk-through, what to look out for, how to navigate any issues discovered, and much more.¬† If you’re wondering what’s involved with a¬†final walk through in Silicon Valley, read on.

What is a Final Walk-Through?

A final walk-through is essentially an inspection performed by the buyer and their real estate agent, typically within 3-5 days of the closing date.  The final walk-through is specified as a right of the buyer in the standard California Residential Purchase Agreement, and most other purchase agreements.  It is important to know that the walk-through does not create any kind of contingency, even if there are new issues with the property.

The Purpose of a Final Walk-Through

This process ensures that the property is in the same or better condition than it was at the time the buyer made the offer. During this time, the buyer can confirm that any agreed-upon repairs have been made, no new damage has occurred, and that the appliances (and perhaps other personal property) specified in the contract is still on site. The final walk-through is not legally required, but it’s a vital step in the home buying process. It affords the buyer a last opportunity to confirm that the home they’re about to acquire will be delivered as agreed. This gives the buyer the chance to avoid any unexpected surprises and make sure the seller is delivering the goods as agreed.

The Difference Between a Final Walk-Through and a Home Inspection

Although both processes involve inspecting the property, a final walk-through is not the same as a home inspection. A home inspection is an in-depth examination conducted by a licensed professional early in the home buying process, focusing on identifying potential issues such as structural problems or malfunctioning systems. On the other hand, a final walk-through is a more general check to verify that the home’s condition hasn’t deteriorated since the day the buyer made the offer, any agreed-upon repairs were completed, and the appliances and personal property are there (or removed, as the case may be).

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The Importance of a Final Walk-Through

The final walk-through is a buyer’s last defense against potential issues. If a buyer decides to skip this step, they may end up with unexpected costs after closing. For instance, if a window gets broken during the seller’s move, the buyer can ask the seller to fix it or compensate for the repair cost before closing. Or, if the contract stipulates that the washer and dryer are to be included in the sale, but they have been removed before the final walk though, the buyer can insist the seller return the missing items.¬† Or perhaps the seller has left a bunch of junk lying around the property, which is not permitted by the contract.¬† The buyer can notify the seller that they need to remove all that stuff prior to closing. By conducting a final walk-through, the buyer can ensure that they are getting precisely what they paid for, and that everything that’s supposed to be removed by the seller gets carted off.

When Does a Final Walk-Through Happen?

The timing of a final walk-through can vary, but it usually takes place just before the closing day. The goal is to schedule it as close to the closing day as possible to ensure that the home is in the condition the buyer expects it to be. It’s also important to schedule the final walk-through after the homeowner has moved out, allowing the buyer to spot any damage that might have occurred during the move-out process.

The Final Walk-Through Checklist

During the final walk-through, it’s essential to be thorough and systematic. Below are some of the key things you should check:

Exterior of the Home:

  1. Check for debris and ensure the yard is clean.
  2. See if any gutters or light fixtures have been damaged
  3. Check the condition of the garage doors – have they been dented recently?
  4. Ensure any fencing is still in the same condition as when you made your offer.

Inside the home:

  1. Test all faucets, showers, and toilets.
  2. Inspect all appliances to ensure they are still working.
  3. Check all doors and windows to ensure they open and close properly.
  4. Look for signs of leaks, mold or water damage.
  5. Check for signs of pest (e.g. rodents) problems.

This list is not exhaustive and may vary based on the specifics of the property and the terms of the sale agreement.

What Happens if You Find An Issue During the Final Walk-Through?

If you come across any issues during the final walk-through, it’s essential to communicate these concerns to your real estate agent immediately. While minor problems can usually be resolved quickly, more significant issues might require renegotiation of the terms of the sale or even delay the closing. In some cases, the buyer may want to walk away from the deal altogether if a substantial problem is discovered which materially impacts the value of the home.

Tips for a Successful Final Walk-Through

To ensure a successful final walk-through, here are some tips:

Bring Along Another Pair of Eyes: It’s always a good idea to have your real estate agent with you during the final walk-through. They are experienced in identifying potential issues that you may overlook.

Be Thorough in Inspecting the Space: Take your time to go through each room and inspect every corner of the property. Remember, this is your last chance to spot any issues before you officially take ownership of the home.

Focus on Any Issues You’ve Already Discussed With the Seller: If there were any agreed-upon repairs, make sure these have been completed to your satisfaction.

Final Thoughts

The final walk-through is a crucial step in the home buying process. It provides the buyer with a final opportunity to ensure that the home is in the agreed-upon condition and that the seller has fulfilled all their obligations. By understanding the importance of this process and knowing what to look out for, you can ensure a smooth and successful transition to homeownership.

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Seb Frey helps long-time Bay Area homeowners make their next move easily the next one yet. If you're looking for a minimum of hassle, maximum net cash on sale, and certain results, contact Seb today.