Just before closing on any Windsor Ontario home, buyers should always make an appointment to walk through the property one final time. The reason? To confirm that the home is in the condition that both parties agreed upon when the offer was accepted. Also, it’s important to see that all repairs promised, have been made and new damages or issues have not occurred on the seller’s watch.
The actual walk through is usually a very exciting time for buyers as they are visually placing furniture here and there, imagining cooking in the kitchen and a host of other emotions. However, this is a very important time to step away from the fun and look at this walk-through as a business meeting. Chances are, this may be the biggest investment you make, so this is the perfect opportunity to bring your checklist to make sure everything is ready to go so you can sign the final paperwork with ease.
What should a buyer look for? Don’t hesitate to do the following:
- Turn on every light to make sure it’s working properly
- Test appliances
- Look for leaks, run water in tub, showers, sinks. Check water pressure
- Check if garage door openers work
- Flush toilets
- Open and close doors to make sure they do not stick, lock correctly
- Operate ceiling fans, garbage disposal
- Test heating/air conditioning.
- Open close all windows.
- Determine all property that was to be left behind is there, such as window treatments, light fixtures, etc.
- Check to see if all repairs have been made.
- Go outside, look at landscaping to see if buyers have taken any plantings or small trees (yes, this happens!)
If you are buying a new home, or if the property has been vacant for some time, then a final walk through is critical. Not too long ago I was with my client at a walk through when we turned on the shower and noticed it wasn’t draining properly. Lo and behold, a subcontractor had thrown trash down the drain! The problem was immediately addressed and resolved before my buyers moved in. Naturally, no one wants to discover this issue as they take their first shower!
When a home is still occupied by the sellers, I always encourage my clients to arrange their walk through when all parties are available. If the sellers are agreeable, this is a great opportunity to ask them questions regarding the property. Why? Who knows a home better than the owners? Usually they are quite happy to share what makes the home tick. Questions you may want to ask include:
- Where is the circuit breaker?
- Where is the water shut-off?
- How do you operate the sprinkler system?
- How do you operate the alarm system?
It’s always important to stay on the good terms with the seller if at all possible. Of course, sometimes this is difficult if the negotiations were particularly tough, but at some point, you may need to contact them. It’s not often, but sellers can forget to leave warranty information, garage door openers or other paperwork that you will need.
Finally, don’t forget your contract when you leave for your walk through. Check off items one by one and alert your agent if something has not been repaired. The goal is to make sure your new home is ready for you as promised and that the contract has been honoured.
Should any issues or problems be discovered, it will need to be worked out prior to closing. You can ask to be compensated for any new damages or uncompleted repairs. In the thousands of walk through I have been to, there is usually some problem, most minor, that need to be corrected. Sellers almost always find these requests reasonable, but it needs to be discussed and resolved before you sign the final papers.