Profile picture for beachrider77

Should I do my final walk through before the seller vacates the property?

I am currently towards the last week and a half or so of escrow, and both the listing agent and my agent are pushing for me to have my final walkthrough before the seller has actually fully vacated the property. I do not feel comfortable signing the paperwork without seeing the seller completely moved out. It is a short sale property and I have heard horror stories regarding similar situations. Do I have the right to refuse to sign the final walkthrough paperwork until the property is fully vacated? Thank you in advance.
  • December 17 2011 - US
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Answers (29)

Profile picture for joeknowsbest23
In California the RPA doesn't allow for buyers to not close escrow just because they find something at the walk thru. And many of these commenters are from the east coast where u sign and close at 'the table'. In California the borrower signs loan docs, the lender has to receive hard copies for review (sometimes by fax but not often) which takes up to 48hrs then the funds are wired to the escrow/title company, THEN the title company can go to the county and record the transfer of ownership at the appointed time for recordings. That's why agents tell their buyers to do the walk through prior to the property being vacant. BcuZ that's how it works out here. Otherwise the seller would have to move out 5days prior to actual closing to allow buyer a vacant walk thru.
  • November 11 2014
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Profile picture for BradNiemann
You are about to sign papers and be financially responsible for the next 15-30 years for the house.  You need to do your walk through on your terms.  There are no set rules on when you have to do this, but I want my buyers to look as close to closing as possible simply because anything can happen.  I have seen damaged flooring where a sofa was sitting, holes in walls behind pictures so on and so forth.  You will be asked to sign a document that says you accept the house in its present condition at closing and the last thing you need are little surprises when you start moving in. 
  • March 27 2013
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I always try to have the walk through when the house is vacated.  In that way it can be determined if everything that was supposed to convey with the house is there.  If you are not comfortable having a final walk through before the house is vacated, you do have the right to wait the sellers remove their personal property.
  • March 27 2013
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Profile picture for user4895889
Many thanks to all the posts!  Question:  I'm the buyer and what if the California Seller's agent refuses to allow me to conduct the final walk through?  I conducted and initial walk through, identified structural damage and the seller's agent told me that the repairs were completed last week.  After numerous requests,  the seller's agent has not sent me any documents stating the repairs were completed. I close in 3 days.  Should I back out and loose $30K in deposit money or sue the seller and seller's agent?  Or request the escrow office to hold on to $30K until the repairs are completed?  What would you do?
  • March 26 2013
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You should wait until the seller vacates the property to make sure that there is no damage to the property and that there is no missing items that are suppose to convey with the home. This is to protect your interest and give you assurance that the property is in the condition as agreed.
  • January 05 2012
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Even if the house is vacant, I suggest to my buyers to have the final walk-through the day of the closing just before we head to sign the paperwork. 

  • January 05 2012
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That's a great question. First of all don't let anyone push you into doing something you are not comfortable in doing. I always wait until the property is completely empty before walking through with my customers. As stated, there is too much to risk when completing a walk through prior to the property being vacated. 
  • January 05 2012
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It is always preferable to wait until the seller has vacated (for all the reasons previously mentioned). However, depending on where you are located, that may or may not be the "norm". We are in Southern California. We always attempt to schedule the walk through after the seller has vacated but the standard CA contracts defaults to a walk through being done within 5 days of closing and doesn't require the seller to move out until the day of closing. To ensure a walk through is possible AFTER the seller has moved out, the CA contract needs to be written to include those terms.

  • January 05 2012
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Profile picture for Shannon Rose
I agree with the many posts stating, wait until the home is vacant. Potential damage can occur in the move, as well as uncover hidden damage that was covered by furniture, wall hangings, and personal belongings. I typically like to take my buyers around 5 days before the closing to conduct our final walk through, however I will always check in with the listing agent to determine if a day or so before or after that 5 day mark is more advantageous. 
  • January 05 2012
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If at all possible wait until the sellers have vacated.  Damage can potentially happen during the move out process.  You also want to make sure that nothing was removed that was included in the sale such as the attached items of the house.
  • January 03 2012
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Profile picture for robsmithremax
Don't do it ! Wait until it is vacant...Good Luck!
  • January 03 2012
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Typically in our market in central Iowa, we recommend after the seller has vacated.  If you do it prior to seller vacating, there is always the possibility of damage being done after the seller moves out.
  • January 03 2012
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Profile picture for NinaHarris
I like to do the walk through the morning of closing.  Any issues found can addressed at the closing table.
  • January 03 2012
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I did my walk though on current home while the prior owner was still here. In fact, she rented it back from me for several months until she bought another home. I needed the time to get my other home ready to rent anyways. 

Simply, I had a deposit and rent taken from her proceeds until after she moved out. 

BUT in general, I would try to have the walk through after the owner has vacated. You can generally even do this after you sign closing documents at the title company, simply instruct the title agent IN WRITING, not to close the home until after you finish your walk through and contact them.

And another point you should be aware of: in many states, if you are going to refuse to close, it needs to be due to a serious material fact. If the damage you discover at walk through is relatively insignificant, you would probably be better off to  first negotiate for a credit, then if that failed, close and fight about it later in arbitration or small claims court. If you refused to sign due to something really small, you could be found to be the one in breech, and lose your earnest money, plus the appraisals, and inspections you have all ready spent. 
  • January 02 2012
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Best to make walkthrough as close to closing as you can. Could have moving company damage or if a distressed sale, intentional damage or vandalism.
  • January 02 2012
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I do my walk throughs an hour before closing.  We go to the home, view it and then go straight to closing.  If there is an issue, they will want to get it resolved to close on the property.
Good Luck,
Christine
  • December 18 2011
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I wonder why your agent would advise you to do a final walkthrough this far from closing.  I would suggest to my buyers to walk through the morning of closing so you can see the home empty.  I would question my agent, if I were you, as to why they are suggesting it and then let them know that you would prefer to do the walk-through right before closing.
  • December 18 2011
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I always do the final walkthrough with my clients before the closing so if there are any issues that need to be addressed you have time before title changes hands.  Good luck with your new home and Happy Holidays!
  • December 18 2011
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It is usual, customary and best to do your final walkthrough after the seller vacates and the property is "broom swept". Often this walkthrough is done just before going to the closing. Good luck.
  • December 18 2011
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Definately wait till they are moved out. There is no telling what might be left behind or what damage a mover might do. I liketo leave a little time between the walk thru and the closing. This give you time to resolve any issues that may arrive befroe showing up at closing.

  • December 18 2011
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Profile picture for sryan1980

The seller should move out (along with all of their possessions). This was you can see the true final condition of the home before you close.

  • December 18 2011
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Profile picture for NinaHarris
Always do the walk through the morning of the closing.  This way if something does not work, it can be addressed at the closing table before the final payment is made. 
  • December 18 2011
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Profile picture for NinaHarris
Always do the walk through the morning of the closing.  This way if something does not work, it can be addressed at the closing table before your final down-payment is made. 
  • December 18 2011
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
I suggest you do the walk through on the way to the closing, not before.
  • December 17 2011
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Profile picture for Peter Jordan
I would never advise a buyer to conduct their walkthrough prior to the seller's vacancy. By doing so, in my opinion, you are only courting trouble. While the seller may leave the property in perfect, "broom-clean" condition, it is also possible once you move in you will find it in less than acceptable condition -- and at that point you will have no legal recourse. Trust your instincts, they're sound.    
  • December 17 2011
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Profile picture for TeamMusser
In as much as the seller is not making a dime on the sell I recomend you do the walk-thru on closing date.  the agents will not be paid till the walk through is sign but it will not hold up closing.
  • December 17 2011
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Thanks for your question "beachrider77".  Check out my VLOG for the answer & read the other agent's response to it.  Forgive me for the video quality, I only had a small amount of time in the truck (wetdawgs)!
  • December 17 2011
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Profile picture for beachrider77
Thank you for your response. I will stay firm on this. I am not exactly sure if they are concerned about the holidays. We are supposed to close a couple days before January, so it seems plausible that the timing may be a factor. Thanks again.
  • December 17 2011
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
I've always done the final walk through when the current occupants are fully out of the property.   Sometimes that is actually on the way to sign the papers, other times it has been the day before.  

So, I agree with what you wish to do.  This is where you can simply say "When they are totally out and have relinquished the keys, then we can do the walk through."  That way, the agents can pressure the other guys.

Is it possible the agents are concerned about holidays interfering with timing?

  • December 17 2011
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