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The Real McCoy: What exactly do you do in a walk-through?

By: Kari McCoy
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Dear Kari, My wife and I bought a home and we have the loan and everything. But when we went to see the house on our “walk-though”, things did not look the same as we remembered. Now the lawn is browner and there are a few other things we would like fixed. Our Realtor said this is not Home Inspection contingency but a “walk-through.” We are confused! Answer: Before the title transfer of your new home, you most likely have the opportunity to do a “walk-through” inspection to ensure the property is in the same condition as the day the contract was signed by both the buyers and sellers. Often the walk-through inspection is confused with the Home Inspection contingency, which involves a set timeframe in the contract to allow the buyers to hire a professional home inspector to examine all the basic systems and structures of the home. The inspector’s report will be your only documented proof of the actual condition of the property, provided your offer included said contingency. When or if material defects are discovered during the inspection process, which may affect the market value of the property, the buyer should have time to gather estimates if needed from several contractors to determine how much it will cost to correct the problem. This period of time needed to complete the inspection should be specified in the purchase agreement and usually is around 10 days or more. This timeframe allows the buyer to either withdraw or enter into a renegotiated contract if the inspection reveals serious and/or consequential material defects that were undisclosed prior to agreement of the purchase contract. Having a home inspection usually addresses and overcomes fears and “buyers’ remorse” and confirms the buyers’ decision to move ahead with the purchase of the home. Please note that the purpose of the “walk-through” is to provide the buyers onsite access to the property and confirm the original condition of the property as seen by the buyers on the day of the written contract and, if applicable, to confirm any agreed to changes by the seller or on behalf of the seller. The “walk-through” is done typically five days before title transfer to the new buyers and commonly is already added into the fine print on some purchase contracts. If the required repairs are not finished or the condition of the property has changed, this walk-through period usually allows the seller enough time to complete the tasks.