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Susan and Bill Morris wrote a contract for a house in a nice subdivision outside Columbia, S.C. Everything went well from the loan approval process through the closing. The next day the movers accompanied Susan and Bill to their new house. As soon as they opened the front door, they noticed a musty smell. Upon entering the kitchen, they discovered the source of the odor.
The sellers of the property had not properly capped the icemaker line that attached to the refrigerator and water had leaked onto the hardwood floors in the kitchen, dining room and living room. All the boards had curled and large gaps had developed between the hardwood boards. Susan and Bill called a contractor to give them an estimate on repairs. His answer was $9,462.
The anxious new owners are still trying to sort out this situation. Should the sellers’ insurance take care of this problem? Or the buyers’? Either way, Susan and Bill had to decide whether to move in or wait until the repairs were completed. If they waited, they would still have to pay the movers and reschedule. They had already sold their former house and buyers were moving into it the next day. They were devastated. What a nightmare! And it could so easily have been avoided.
Susan and Bill could have avoided this situation by doing a final walk-through inspection a few hours before the closing. This inspection must not be done a week or even a day before closing. It’s vital that it be done the day of closing. The buyer-side agent should accompany the buyer and bring along a checklist that will help them remember everything they see. Some of the tasks that should be performed are turn on all water faucets, flush all the commodes, turn on all the showers, turn on all the appliances and check the heating and cooling system. Take along a hair dryer and plug it into each wall outlet to make sure it works. Never finalize a sale until a through walk-through has been completed. That way, problems can be resolved before the buyer is stuck with them.
Jerry Fowler is the broker of Jerry Fowler and The Results Team Realtors in Columbia, S.C.
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