Q: The closing on the house I’m buying is coming up but I’m going to be out of town and won’t be here to do the walk-through or the signing. The title company is going to send the document with a notary so the signing is all set. Should I just skip the walk-through? After all, I did just see the house a few weeks ago for the inspections. There weren’t any repairs being done and I’m sure the house is still OK.
A: It sounds like you have the signing portion of the closing worked out but you do still want to be sure to have someone (your broker at least and maybe a friend or family member, too) do the walk-through for you.
You’re probably right. You just saw the house a few weeks ago and it’s likely not changed very much since. However, a walk-through is specifically designed to protect you from the unlikely event that something unexpected has happened. The example I always give my buyers is a huge roof leak during monsoon season. You’d hate to skip your walk-through and go to your new house after closing to find out the ceiling caved in from the rain. Now, is that likely to happen? Of course not. But if it did happen you would certainly want to find out before signing any papers so you could decide how to move forward.
The purchase agreement states the house will be in the same condition in which you saw it previously with “normal wear and tear.” Well, “normal wear and tear” does not mean a ceiling caved in, the house vandalized, a new plumbing leak, or any of the other things that could happen suddenly and unexpectedly. It does mean things should be in the same condition and functionality as the last time you saw it.
All of that said, being out of town should not mean you have to skip any of the steps in the process or do things out of order. Generally speaking, you only want to sign the closing documents after you’ve confirmed the property is in the expected condition, so have your broker call you once the walk-through is done and then go ahead and sign. And finally, congrats on your new house!
Talia Freedman is the owner of Talia Freedman and Co.