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Home Buyer’s Final Walk-thru

by Cheryl Scott-Daniels

An important step in the home buying process is the final buyer walk-thru, prior to closing. I have compiled a list to help answer some questions home buyers and sellers may have about the final walk-thru.

·       What is the purpose of the final walk-thru?

The purpose of the walk-thru is to make sure that the property is in the condition it was when you agreed to buy it. 

·       When should the final walk-thru take place?

The ideal time to do the walk-thru is after the seller has completely vacated the premises and just a couple of hours before the closing.  This way you will have an accurate assessment of the property’s condition.  However, due to timing constraints some home buyers may not be able to do the walk-thru on the day of the closing.   Also if you are buying a company owned property, they sometimes require the final walk-thru a few days prior to closing.  If this is the case, a walk-thru can take place the day before or even a few days before the closing.  In this case, I would still suggest that you ask your real estate agent if they would accompany your friend or if they might walk thru the property a couple of hours before closing to confirm that a tree hasn't fallen on the roof or that the house has not been flooded by a major pipe break or some other disaster hasn't occurred.

·       Who should be present at the walk-thru?

Typically, the home buyers and buyers’ real estate agent will be the only people present during the walk-thru. However, in some cases a buyer might request the presence of an inspector or contractor.  On some occasions, the seller’s agent might be present to allow access to the home.

·       What should I look for during the walk-thru?

The walk-thru is not a home inspection. At the time of the walk-thru the home building inspection will have been completed and all negotiations done. Take a copy of your contract with you so you will have the list of repairs and changes the seller has agreed to make. Look for these items to be sure they were completed. If major repairs were agreed upon then scheduling a time with an inspector to review the repairs prior to the walk-thru is recommended. Walk-thru the home and make sure personal items that were included in the sale have been left and that no debris or trash remains.

·     What happens if the condition of the home is not satisfactory at the time of the walk-thru?

Consequences of an unsatisfactory walk-thru may vary depending on the issue. For example, if furniture and personal items that were not contained in the contract are left at the home then the buyer’s attorney may ask for the sellers to remove these items or provide money to the buyer at the closing to cover the cost of removal.  If something has been removed from the house, such as a washer or dryer that was included in the contract, then the buyer’s attorney might ask for their return or for money from the seller to cover the cost of replacement.

·       As a seller, what can I do to avoid issues arising during the final walk-thru?

Make sure you understand the items that are listed in your sales contract.    Be sure to leave those personal items that you have agreed to leave and clear out any trash or debris. If you have agreed to make repairs, be sure to provide copies of those receipts and any warranties that may be associated with those repairs, to your attorney for reference and for delivery to the buyer.  Please leave the house clean and ready for occupancy. 

Fairfield County Market Update

by Cheryl Scott-Daniels

There is a healthy, active inventory of 7,973 single family homes on the Greater Fairfield County Consolidated Multiple Listing Service. To date, we have 4,051 sales representing a unit sales decrease of 11% vs. the first seven months of 2010. The result is a 14 month supply of homes currently on the market. The median selling price county-wide is $400,000 which is only a 1.5% decrease versus this same time frame last year.  This update provides more evidence that prices during the first 7 months of the year did level off.  This is not the case in every town and can be broken down for each specific property so it is important for our listeners to talk to their REALTOR® about the advantages of buying or selling in a specific town and price range at this time.

There are 1,055 properties with fully executed contracts waiting to close. The median list price of those homes is $335,000, 16.3% lower than the median sales price of closed homes so far this year.  Indications are that the last 5 months of this year will produce a lower number of sales and lower selling prices.  In various towns, we have seen the top end of the market slow dramatically as activity in the lower tier continued.

There are 485 properties with accepted offers.  The median list price of those homes with accepted offers is $364,900, 8.7% lower than the median selling price of the properties that have closed so far this year. 

Overall, county-wide sales in the upper tier remain just behind the rate of sales last year with 177 closed single family sales, over $2MM this year, which is .6% less than the number of sales in that price range last year.  72 single family homes over $3MM have sold so far this year representing a unit sales decrease of 4%.  Sales in the upper tier started out strong but seem to have slowed during the second half.

Sellers should talk to their REALTORS® about ways to make their homes stand out above their competition and if they really want to sell they must price realistically! It is interesting to note that 15% of sales in one Fairfield County town closed at or above list price during the first 5 months of the year.  Buyers recognize a fair deal and will compete with other buyers when they see a fairly priced property.

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Photo of Cheryl Scott-Daniels  Real Estate
Cheryl Scott-Daniels
CSD Select Homes
991 Post Rd East
Westport CT 06880
203-341-0100
203-200-0065
Fax: 866-806-6909