Should you have a pre-possession walk-through when purchasing a resale home? Heck yes you should!
What many buyers don’t realize is that having a walk-through before keys are released on closing day isn’t an unspoken rule or right. Your buyer agent needs to insert a term in 7.6 stating that you as the buyer will be permitted access to the property on such and such a day.
Schedule the walk-through for the night before or morning of possession so that the seller has already moved out and you can see the home in its vacant state. Taking just a few minutes to do this can allow you to resolve any issues before funds are transferred.
Here’s an example of why a walk-through can be useful:
Last month my client and I were looking through the home he purchased and was about to take possession of. We discovered that the freezer that was included in the purchase contract had been removed from the home. I contacted the listing agent and then gave our lawyer a heads up so he could withhold funds if necessary.
As it turned out, it was a simple mistake by the seller and he had the freezer returned the morning of possession. When keys were released at noon, everything that was supposed to be in the home was there and everyone was happy.
If the missing freezer was discovered after possession and after funds had already been transferred, it may have been a lot more difficult had the seller not been so cooperative.
A pre-possession walk-through also allows you as the buyer to see whether other terms in the contract were fulfilled such as any repairs, professional cleaning, etc. (Note: your buyer agent should insert terms that also details what will happen if those agreed upon matters aren’t completed)
In most cases nothing of importance is discovered. However, on a personal and selfish level, a walk-through allows me to sleep soundly the night before possession knowing that everything looks A-OK for my client.
Related article: What should be the condition of the property at possession?