During the real estate crash that came to a calamitous end in 2008, the final walk-through step of a real estate transaction was often skipped for various reasons. In some cases, the buyers were in a rush to take possession because they felt letting a single day go by would be akin to missing out on home equity. Other buyers were prospective investors who acquired messy homes they intended to improve and flip. In other words, they already knew what was wrong with the property and had adjusted the purchase price to account for shortcomings.

In the current sellers’ market of downtown Boston, condo, loft, and penthouse buyers should not skip the final walk-through. Current prices are considerably higher than they were years ago, and there are certain expectations associated with premium real estate in the downtown districts. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors goes as far as calling the walk-through “a best friend for prospective buyers.” Here is how this final inspection should be handled.

Walk-Through Contract Stipulation

A final walk-through is not a contingency item on a contract. However, it should be a clause that directs sellers to keep their property in the condition it was when the purchase agreement was executed. If the dishwasher stops working prior to closing, the seller should repair it and provide receipts of the work performed. As a contract clause, it can be negotiated to a certain degree. For example, the seller can agree to deliver a condo in a reasonably clean condition, so it should not look like a New Year’s Eve party was thrown prior to closing.

Walking Through with Real Estate Agents

In a sellers’ market, this is a must. Buyers should not have to deal with noncompliant sellers just because market conditions favor them. When a final walk-through inspection does not conform to the agreed terms, the agents representing buyers and sellers will be tasked with finding a remedy prior to closing.

Checking the Basics

Ford Realty usually provide buyers with checklists to use during a final inspection. Aside from checking that personal property and debris have been removed, the following items must also be checked:

  • Light fixtures
  • Door hardware and locks
  • Faucets, toilets, and sinks
  • Appliances
  • HVAC system
  • Wall, ceiling, floor, and counter surfaces
  • Railings
  • Windows

New Construction and Remodeled Properties

If a builder or contractor is tasked with delivering the property, buyers may run into a punch list situation, which is what construction or remodeling supervisors do when they inspect the work performed. For the most part, punch lists consist of minor or cosmetic adjustments that need to be done prior to delivery. Contractors tend to move very quickly to get their punch lists down to zero items, and thus a second walk-through may be required.

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Condos around the Boston area to rent:

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