Buyer wants walk through day before closing

eliw23November 12, 2006

I'm closing this Friday on both the house I'm selling and buying. My realtor called me today letting me know that the buyer wants to do a walk through of my house Thursday evening. The movers are scheduled to be here Friday morning to move all my stuff out so the house will definitely not be vacant. Is she obligated to have a walk through the day before even though I'll have boxes and furniture all over the place? I'm afraid that they'll hold money from me in escrow since they'll have no idea what the house will look like after we totally move out. I really don't want to change the date and move out Thursday morning and have to pay for 2 days of storage on the moving truck plus have my whole family stay somewhere else during this time. Anyone ever deal with this before?

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I would think their earlier than expected walk through time would be to their disadvantage, not yours. Granted, you may have your realtor let them know you will not be totally moved out then just so they know. And, maybe I'm missing something, but I don't really see how it can be held against you or why you would have to move any dates around. They are probably just not that concerned with any possible damage that could occur due to the move or within that one day period. I think some people don't even do walk throughs at all. Don't worry about it, and/or ask your realtor if you have specific concerns and be sure not to surrender the keys!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 11:37PM
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It's very common to do a walk through the day before or the day of. I imagine that the buyers are more concerned with making sure there is no damage to the home and that you are actually packing up and leaving than the boxes that will be all over.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 12:01AM
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I wouldn't be upset about it. Just let them know you will still be packing. All our walk throughs have been the day before or the morning of the closing. As long as everything was gone when we took over the keys to the house it didn't matter. No need to put things in storage. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 7:56AM
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except, fromt eh buyer's poitn of view, damage can STILL occur. The scratches that appeared on the wood floors of our apartment came DURING the move-out, not before. And we didn't see them on the walk-through.

That's partly because we did a rent-back for a week. But in your situation, the same thing could happen--a mover could knock a dent into the molding at the door, or scratch the wood floors.

We asked our sellers for $100 per scratch (2 rooms), so we could have the floors redone, and then we had the floors redone. They weren't really happy about losing the money (and if I had it to do over again, I'd have ignored the scratches and NOT redone the floors). So be aware that something like that might happen.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 9:24AM
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The buyers are being nice to let you have you stuff in the house on closing day...and they have every right to do a walk through the day before to make sure everything is in order.

If I remember correctly the actual day of the closing is paid for by the buyer - that's when the buyer's mortgage begins - so guess you can say that the buyer owns the house on the day of the closing no matter what time of the day you close.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 9:28AM
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Just let them in. If you don't there will be trouble and you don't want that.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 9:38AM
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jerzeegirl - you mentioned that the buyer actually owns the house on closing day even though all the paperwork hasn't been signed and closing's officially done. So does that mean I also own the house I'm buying that same day too and I should be able to move in Friday morning even though that closing's not until mid afternoon? I actually never realized that before. Last time I moved, it was from an apartment to the house I'm currently living in now and I didn't have any back to back closings.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 10:11AM
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Obviously, the buyer doesn't own the house til the deed transfers and the mortgage documents are signed. And of course things can happen to prevent that. All I am saying is that when the proration is done I believe that the buyer pays closing day. Maybe a title person can answer this question definitively.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 10:19AM
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It is rather confusing. The last time I closed, each party had 48 hours to move out after closing. The lady who bought my condo closed the day before I closed. I closed on both properties the next day and the fellow whose house I bought closed that same day later in the day. He had 48 hours to clear out from that point (this was per the contract) and then my 48 hours began and I had to move out. It makes for a very hasty retreat. I tried not to box up much until after the inspection, but hey, you've got to pack sometime. And I would think the boxes would be comforting for your buyer because they will know you are serious about getting out on time. I bought from a 23 year old boy who barely got things together all the way through (he even just paid me $500 instead of trying to fix inspection issues as he didn't have time to fool with it) when I saw his stuff gone during my walkthrough, I was breathing a sigh of relief.

So your departure time should be written into the contract and boxes are normal - you're moving!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 10:23AM
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I have only purchased houses I intend to occupy, but as a buyer I will not close on a house that has not been vacated and is empty to inspect because as it was pointed out if damage occurs it will likely be while the previous owners move out. I figure I am paying HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars. If the previous owners furniture hid any undeclared nasties or if Bubba damages a hunk of wall moving hubbys billiard table it will not be me who pays to have it fixed. In instances where the previous owners are still moving out I have simply delayed the closing until they have fully vacated and I was able to have a propper walk through inspection. PERIOD.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 11:29AM
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We've always done a walk through on the 4 houses we've purchased. More like a reassurance that everything we thought should be there is, and things that shouldn't aren't. Like on the present house, the sellers had left a lot of crap that we didn't want to have to worry about (varnishes, paint that didn't go with the house etc) they should have disposed of and other garbage all over. They took the curtains that were specifically written into the contract as to stay - not that I cared about the curtains, I was 8 months pregnant at the time and wanted to have something on the windows until I had time to get my own curtains. Other than that all my walk throughs have been painless.
Have fun and enjoy the new place!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 11:30AM
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I definitely understand she wants to have a walk through since I'll be doing the same on the house I'm purchasing but I remember doing mine years ago right before closing. I think the buyer has to work that morning so that's why she's doing it the night before. I know I can't say no but my realtor will be informing her's that we'll still be there that night with all of our stuff. Hopefully it'll all work out. I feel like I never want to move again! The stress of worrying that my house wouldn't sell doesn't match actually trying to move! I can't wait until this is all over with.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 1:28PM
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Ownership transfers with the recording here. So even if you close on a Friday morning, the house will not change hands until Monday or Tuesday. Someone cannot demand that a house be empty prior to closing here, because the seller still owns the property. The property usually is exchanged at closing, but that is only a nice gesture. Not something which has to be done. We need Dave to explain wet ink and dry ink states again.

A walk through is typical for my area. Yes, people would expect boxes and carpet cleaning equiptment. When we bought our last home, the sellers were totally out and just cleaning up. This time, they were just starting to get packed. Their agent didn't set up the walk through time and our agent had to explain it to the seller. We were ready to put off the closing if we didn't do a walk through.

Since we were totally out and the buyer had been in the house numerous times, they did not request a walk through for our last home sale.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 4:09PM
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Gloria, that is so interesting - I didn't know there were wet and dry ink states. I wish Dave would give us an explanation. I assume a wet ink state is where property passes to the new owner at the closing table.

I would be curious to know who is responsible for such things as utilities and insurance where you have to wait until recording - sounds like it would be the seller.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 4:24PM
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"Someone cannot demand that a house be empty prior to closing here, because the seller still owns the property."

The buyer is not obligated to close if the house is not in the condition required by the purchase contract. The buyer is entitled to verify this before closing. So unless the buyer waives the condition, you actually DO have to have the house in the required condition before closing.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 4:24PM
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"Ownership transfers with the recording here."

Recirding the deed does not affect the ownership of property. It is trasnfered the moment the deed is executrf and delivered to the buyer.

Recording of deeds puts the public on notice about the ownership of a piece of property, and prevent a seller from trying to deed the propoerty to multiple buyers.

I would love to see a code referenace that makes recording a requirement to transfer ownership. Unconditional delivery of a valid deed of conveyance to the purchaser effects the tranfer.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 4:45PM
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Around here it is typical that possession goes to the buyer upon "closing and funding." When we sold our house in July, we moved out the night before closing since we were closing at 9:00 am. The movers truck broke down and so they didn't get everything out of the garage that night. My husband was in the house vacuuming at 1:00 in the morning, then he met the movers there at 7:00 to finish getting everything out of the garage.

Buyer's walkthrough? None. In fact, I have bought and sold several houses in my life and have never walked through a house before closing (except the one where we bought a spec house under construction) and have never had a buyer request a walk through before closing.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 12:21AM
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"I would love to see a code referenace that makes recording a requirement to transfer ownership. Unconditional delivery of a valid deed of conveyance to the purchaser effects the tranfer."
HA! Good question, I don't know of any state where recording of ownership is required. However, it's in the best interest of the buyer. That's why Title Insurance Gap protection becomes important.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 12:39AM
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On the house we're selling in SoCal: our close is set for Nov 15 and we have to be out 3 days later, according to the sales contract. So if they are going to do a walkthrough on the day of closing, they will see a lot of boxes, as we aren't actually leaving until the next day.

When we bought this house, I think the people left even before close. I can't remember. What I do remember is that they left a whole bunch of junk around the house and yard (old broken furniture etc) that I had to pay to have hauled away.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 12:55AM
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"Buyer's walkthrough? None. In fact, I have bought and sold several houses in my life and have never walked through a house before closing (except the one where we bought a spec house under construction) and have never had a buyer request a walk through before closing."

You are lucky you have never had any problems. Sometimes buyers take stuff that should have been left behind (chandeliers, drapes), sometimes buyers damage things in the process of moving, a flood might develop in the basement, anything can happen.

Not having a walkthrough can come back to bite you on the butt.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 10:03AM
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We didn't know to have a walkthrough when we bought our first house. The sellers took a cabinet hung over the washer & dryer and we didn't discover it until we started moving in.

We have purchased several homes since that first one, and have never closed without a walk through just before the close. We have also delayed closing until items agreed upon in the contract were in fact completed to our satisfaction. You have leverage before the close & none afterwards unless you have held out enough in escrow.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 5:16PM
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Final walk throughs are usually optional but a good idea for many of the reasons posted. I've always done one. The last one in Pennsylvania, they were still moving out while we were walking through. They had a hot tub in the basement and scratched the floor removing it. It was about 4 feet long and an inch wide. They gave us money at closing to fix it.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 8:01PM
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My dad and his new wife just sold her old house. They had already purchased a condo and had moved their stuff a couple of days before the closing. The buyer and agent did a walkthrough early in the morning of the scheduled closing. They found that the house had been broken into and stripped of its copper piping and a large stained glass window.

Can you imagine what it would have been like for those buyers to have closed on the purchase without a walkthrough? Yikes.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 11:47PM
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I mentioned in an earlier post that I had never done a walk through (except on a new house) and had never had one asked for. We bought a house last week and I actually insisted on a walk through the night before closing.

The seller had refused us access twice during the month before closing. We had been allowed to do inspections and then about a week later wanted to see the house again (our kids had not yet seen the house and I wanted them to see it and wanted some measurements). Seller was out of town and didn't want anyone there as her children were in the house staying with someone. OK. Fine.

So we wanted another couple of weeks and then asked to see the house again. Seller was away (with the kids) for Thanksgiving (I think visiting the husband who had already transfered for his job). Refused again. Did not want anyone on the property while she was gone, not even her agent. Surveyor could not get access to property due to presence of dogs. My agent called seller's agent and said seller wanted no one on property. Pointed out couldn't close without survey. Finally seller agreed to allow survey.

After all that I did insist on a walk through which the night before closing. Boxes were everywhere (we were leasing back for a few days). But, all was well.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 2:35AM
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I've always thought it just smart practice not to allow the buyers easy entry into the house before closing. One final walk through is okay, but for a buyer to expect additional visits is not okay in my book. I'm not hiding anything, just never know what a buyer will not like on subsequent visits.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 11:35AM
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Well we had a binding contract and we had repeatedly said how much we loved the house. I've sold several houses and I've always given a buyer under contract lots of access to the house.

When we bought our last house, we asked for access after the inspections and closing so that my parents who were visiting could see the house. Thankfully, the sellers didn't take your view and graciously allowed us access. I have photographs of my parents walking through the house. They have special meaning to me as the next week my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. They were the last healthy looking photos that I had of him. He was never able to visit the house after closing and died a few months later.

Frankly, on our most recent purchase, I thought it was unreasonable for the seller to refuse me access to the house when she knew my children had not seen the house (I didn't want to get their hopes up before inspections) and she knew we had a contractor coming in to do work so we could move in before Christmas. She knew all about it because it was the reason we didn't want to do a late closing. We had given her a later closing date than we preferred. But it made it very tight for us. She knew we were planning on starting work on the house the instant she moved out. Even so, we leased back the house to her for 3 days after closing at no charge to her. I think we were being more than reasonable so the two refusals to let us have access (for about 30 minutes) didn't sit right with me. I just would never do that to a buyer.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 11:29PM
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