Walk-through worries


Dear David,

We’ve been house-hunting for several months. A few weeks ago, we put in an offer and landed what we thought was the house of our dreams. Our agent put a clause in the agreement that would allow us to go back and see the house a few times before closing. We just had our first visit, and the house was a disaster. What can we do? – WORRIED

DEAR WORRIED: First, take a deep breath. You’ve solved the biggest problem many buyers face, which is finding their perfect house in the first place. Studies show that most buyers start looking for a home up to a year before they actually make a purchase. Factors like price, location and affordability take a lot of consideration. With all of that in the rear view mirror, you’re on the final stretch of making this home your own.

From your agent’s perspective, it’s good business practice to put a clause in the agreement that allows the buyer to visit the property on a number of occasions. These “walk-throughs” give the buyer a chance to do what they probably didn’t when they first saw the house, like measure to see if their furniture fits, drop by with their contractor, or come back to “give the house a hug”. On average, buyers spend less than half an hour in a house before deciding to submit an offer. Like dating, it can be love at first sight, even after seeing dozens of homes. 

When you first walked through the new house, there’s a good chance it had been staged, which means it was presented in the best possible way. It was likely impeccably clean, with no dishes in the sink or wet towels on the floor. The furniture was arranged in a particular way, and decorative touches were probably  added to make it more appealing.

Once the sold sticker hits the lawn sign, it’s back to real life, but the sellers are getting ready to move on top of everything else. When you drop by for one of the walk-throughs allowed in your agreement, don’t be surprised if the house is no longer staged. These early walk-throughs are a courtesy to you; the final one a day or so before closing is more critical and will give you an idea of what state the house will be in when you receive it. I like to do final walk-throughs at the latest possible point in the process (ideally once the sellers have moved out) so my clients can see what they’re getting. Unless otherwise stated in the agreement, a seller is obligated to deliver the home in the same condition it was purchased (reasonable wear and tear accepted), so I don’t think you need to worry just yet.

PRO TIP: Your agent can let you know if your experience is normal and reasonable. Sellers have no obligation to keep the home in showing condition while orchestrating a move, but if you end up having challenges, your Realtor and lawyer can find a solution. As a seller, your home doesn’t need to look like it did when it was on the market, but it should look like you care. Sometimes a bit of tidying up can calm a nervous buyer’s nerves. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.