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HELP!! problems found during walkthroughs / remedy

16 years ago

I just recently found this website and have been reading feverishly the threads and all to glean whatever info i can as i'm closing on our house soon. This is my first walk through on a house. The last house I was out of state and DH picked out the house and did the walkthrough. As well, I've only seen this house twice as the first time was during our 3 day 50house marathon house hunting trip. Second time was after we had put in an offer. I did take pics of the rooms so I have an idea of layout. I thought it was crazy that we'd put an offer down on a house we had only seen once but my DH wanted to buy so we can move asap during the summer before school started. And, of course we committed the cardinal sin of buying before completing the sale of our existing house though it was "under contract" (there's another story about going thru the 7th circle of hell with a delightful combination of an annal retentive buyer and frightening repair nightmare...but i'll save those for another thread).

My questions regarding walkthroughs:

1. what kind of things should i be accutely looking for (we've had them repair the jams around some of the windows that the home inspection report noted had rotted) Sellers have not presented a copy of their repair receipt but their RE agent told our agent it was over $1K to repair. is there a list anywhere of things i should be looking for in a walkthrough.

2. HI couldn't inspect the a/c as it was too cold during that day. HI only did a visual inspection of the roof even though i insisted he get up on the roof but he told us it would be additional charge. all in all i thought the Home Inspection Report was useless as it was basically littered with "get a licensed professional "fill in the blank" to evaulate" etc. We've had such bad luck with HI seems they just about anyone be one it seems speaking from experience during this inspection and on our previous home where the HI completely missed a defect (another story).

3. If we do find something wrong during the walkthru what is our recourse. would it be too late now to ask for things to be repaired that we notice now in the walkthrough? Closing occurs the day after our walk through. I think asking for repair monies to be placed in escrow is one option or cash settlement. is that correct?

ANY ADVICE WOULD BE SO APPRECIATED. walkthru is in 3 days.

Comments (28)

  • sparksals
    16 years ago

    Wow! I could have written this post two years ago when you described the inspection for your home.

    Our HI couldn't inspect the AC unit in AZ because there was a table blocking it (how convenient). Thinking we could trust the honesty of the seller, we requested that they have it inspected and serviced. We trusted them to do so, but the guy did it himself and the day after I moved in, a fuse blew, the AC died and we had no AC in July in AZ when it was 115 degrees!

    Since the AC couldn't be inspected (isn't it summer??? odd that it was too cold!), then I suggest you try to find an contractor from a reputable AC company to come take a look at it either before your walkthru or during. This really should have been written into the contract after the HI, but you can still have it checked out. If any problems are discovered, then you have recourse to have a significant sum of money held in escrow so you can get it fixed after close.

    As for things to look for during the walkthru, first of all, make sure the house is vacant! Do not close until you have had a vacant walkthru so you can see if any furniture is hiding defects or damage. Do not cave in on this one! If there are problems, do not close. If you can't delay closing, don't let the other side know that and insist a large sum of money is held in escrow. The best course of action is to delay closing until it can be inspected if it's water damage that was covered up by furniture. There have been horror stories here where a walkthru was conducted when the house still had furniture and lo and behold, the next day when they took possession, there were severe water damage on some walls hidden by a china cabinet.

    Make up a list of things you want to look at so you are prepared. Turn on water faucets, flick light switches, check for cable and phone outlets and any water marks on the ceiling and walls. Make sure the appliances are the same as what was shown in the house. Take photos. Check carpet/flooring/countertops/cupboards for damage. Make sure there are not gouges in the walls from moving out their belongings. Don't be picky about picture hook holes, those are easy to fix. You want to look for major damage or for things that are not as expected as part of the contract.

    You absolutely want a copy of the repair receipt before you close. Do not close until you receive a copy. The seller of this house lied and said he did a whole bunch of repairs, had the receipts and the day before closing, never presented them. Money was held in escrow, but it was a huge pain because we moved to a new city and didn't know who to call to do them all. Moving is stressful enough without having to deal with all that crap!

    We'd love to hear the story of your anal buyers! Start another thread for that!


  • marys1000
    16 years ago

    I would think that a walk through on an existing house could be similar to the walk through on new construction. You might do a search in the Building a House forum as I know final walk throughs come up there.
    You do know you can search each forum individual for key words? Look at the top of the page when you're in a fourm and you will see the word search.
    Second, there are some generic walk through checklists on the web - do a google search. You might want to combine two or three to get something "complete".
    Third - when you do your walk through, wear crummy, comfortable work clothes. Bring a flashlight and a hair dryer and a friend for a second set of eyes. Check every outlet with the hair dryer. Run all the faucets and listen for pipe noises and check the drainage. Flush the toilets. See if you can rock the toilets. Try and get in the attic and use the flashlight to check for water damage and mold. Do the bathroom vents vent outside? Check the ceilings in closets etc. for water damage that may have been hidden by paint. Use the flashlight to check in the cabinets under the sinks. If theres an unfinished basement check the underside of the boards where all the tubs, sinks and toilets are with the flashlight. If its a crawlspace - ick, did your HI get under there? You do need a termite inspection and they should get under there. Maybe you can ask them to look for other things wrong as a "favor". Walk around the outside too and see if you can detect any places where the gutters overflowed or their are drainage issues. Its hard to know what to look for in ducting, electric panels, plumbing and such. Discolaration?

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  • saphire
    16 years ago

    Ok I have only bought once but I do not think the walkthrough is a redo of the home inspection. If you were not happy with the inspectors report then I would have gotten someone to receheck the things I had concerns about then. I really think the walk through is designed to examine things that should have been fixed by the seller or to look for anything that has changed. I would hope you would have looked for termites before the day of closing. I doubt you developed termites between now and last month.

    As for insisting on furniture being removed you have to be kidding me! If I sell my house ideally I will not move until the day after closing. What if my buyer backs out? I need the money to put toward the new house. Where do I put my house full of furniture in the mean time? Sure some people buy, move and then sell but it is not because that is what their buyer insisted on

  • brickeyee
    16 years ago

    The walk through before closing is to ensure the property is in the same condition as when the contract was ratified and that any agreed to repairs have been completed.

    If you failed to have the AC tested before during the inspection period the seller can say it is in the same condition and you have nothing to base your claim on.

    You are not purchasing a new house.
    The seller is required to deliver it in the same condition as when you agreed to purchase (plus any later agreed to repairs).
    You do not get another shot to find problems.

  • graywings123
    16 years ago

    In my area, the walk-through isn't a repeat of the inspection. It is done just hours prior to closing. The buyers are verifying that what they believe is being conveyed is still there, what was to be removed is gone, and that promised repairs have been completed. And, as someone mentioned, it is an opportunity to check areas previously hidden by large furniture.

    If the faucets worked when the home inspector tested them a month ago, it is a pretty safe bet they still work.

  • rrah
    16 years ago

    brickeyee and saphire said, this is NOT another home inspection. This is a final walk through. You are there to confirm the home is in the same, or better, condition as when the offer was first made and that repairs have been done. You are also checking that any items included in the sale such as shelves, appliances, and light fixtures are still in the home. In this instance, if the seller has represented the AC works, I would switch it on to confirm that it does. In my state, sellers must resign the disclosure form at closing to reaffirm the condition of the house.

  • Carol_from_ny
    16 years ago

    Walk thru is just that a walk thru to make sure things have not been destroyed and asked for repairs were done.

    You want to make sure the trash from the PO was removed. That carpeting wasn't torn or destroyed during their move out. That EVERYTHING they promised to move out is out. That all doors and windows are in the same shape or the repaired shape requested.
    You might want to note if you need to buy light bulbs for the over head lights in the house so your moving in day goes a bit smoother.

    In some states the law is that the house MUST BE BROOM Clean....meaning as clean as you can get with the use of a broom, no litter, no cobwebs all trash removed.

    If curtains or draperies were to be left make sure they are still there and they are the ones you agreed to.

    Make sure the appliances and anything else listed or agreed to as part of the sale is there in it's entirity.

    Walk around outside to make sure all the plants and shrubs are still there, and outdoor buildings or play units that were agreed to be left are.

    Anything that is not in agreement with what you contracted for you should speak up about then and insist be corrected before you go futher. DO NOT accept a verbal promise of removal or satisfaction. Get EVERYTHING that needs to be corrected in writting, pictures would be good too and get the PO to sign it. If they are serious about keeping their promises signing another statement that these things will be fixed should be no problem. Make sure you give a date you expect it to be done and a $$ pentalty if it's's just added security for you. It helps gives you legal recourse if you should need it.

    If the agents have done their jobs correctly you should have no problems.

  • Linda
    16 years ago

    As for insisting on furniture being removed you have to be kidding me! If I sell my house ideally I will not move until the day after closing

    Then you are living in someone elses house and there is no guarantee that you will get out. People generally don't close until the house is empty. What if the house burns down 2 hours after closing? You are still in there, the buyers haven't taken possession of "their house yet", Who is responsible?

  • mariend
    16 years ago

    As to the roof, ask for a roof certification from a licensed and certified roofer. Our buyers did this with our approval as our roof was almost 20 years old and had been repaired. No problem. You can also get a licensed plumber/electrician to check things out especially with the A/C

  • dreamgarden
    16 years ago

    If the seller says he has had certain types of work done that require a permit, check with the building dept, etc to be sure these have actually been filed. If it ISN'T in the record, you might have to tear it down. Sometimes sellers don't get permits because they KNOW they won't be approved. We asked one seller about his septic. He lied and said he had permits on file. We checked. There weren't any. His neighbor confided that he hired his friends to do the work.

    sparksals makes a good point, take plenty of pics. I'd had a friend/relative go with you on the final walk thru so you have a witness in case things don't look right.

    I don't have the link, but there is a good article at called
    "Rely on pros to cure title troubles" by Holden Lewis

    Google it to read some very good tips about closings.

    One example: "Avoid busiest days"
    Dan Green, a mortgage consultant with Mobium Mortgage in Chicago, lays down one rule to his clients: Never close on a Friday or the last day of the month, especially in the afternoon and especially in summer. (This month, June 2006, carries a triple whammy: The last day of the month is a Friday, and it's in summer, when more people are on vacation.)

    Green discourages clients from closing on those days and at those times because that's when title agents and closing attorneys are at their busiest. Everyone wants to close at the end of the month or on a Friday because those are convenient times to move. When settlement agents are at their busiest, they don't have as much time to deal with last-minute problems. "When something goes wrong, you need to be sure that enough people are available," Green says.

  • saphire
    16 years ago


    I will post a separate thread on moving first, it just does not make sense to me and anyone I know who has moved within the same area did not move out until after closing. Usually there is a payment of one days interest per day made to compensate the buyer for the delay

  • sparksals
    16 years ago

    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that the walkthru should be another HI. However, the buyer does have the right to inspect items to her satisfaction to ensure they are in working order. I would turn on taps, flush toilets and flick light switches to ensure they are working. Anything can happen in the period between HI and closing.

    As for insisting on furniture being removed you have to be kidding me! If I sell my house ideally I will not move until the day after closing. What if my buyer backs out? I need the money to put toward the new house. Where do I put my house full of furniture in the mean time? Sure some people buy, move and then sell but it is not because that is what their buyer insisted on

    After closing, in most places, the house belongs to the buyer. I know in some areas, it is common to have a period of time after closing to move out, however this is not the case in the vast majority of areas.

    Everywhere I have bought a home, once the deal is closed, it belongs to me. If the seller still has items in the house, they now belong to me. If they have not moved out, there are insurance and liability issues and possibly difficulty in getting them to leave.

    A buyer does have the right to walk through when the house is vacant so that anything hidden (accidently, unknowingly or even intentionally) can be discovered.

  • bonelady
    16 years ago

    A friend of mine just went thru this. They closed on Wednesday and allowed the buyer to move out on Friday. When they got to the house, the garage was full of boxes the sellers decided they did not want and just left. "the contract provision of "Broom Clean" was ignored and the mess of moving was just left there. The sellers moved out of state and my friends did not ask for escrow $$ so they were stuck with two days of clean up and quite a bit of money for the extra garbage.

  • terrig_2007
    16 years ago

    I agree with everyone who has said that the final walk-thru is simply to ensure that any repairs requested and agreed to from the HI have been done, to make sure the house is in the condition as it was when you made the offer, and to make sure everything included in the contract (i.e. appliances, draperies, blinds, etc.) are still intact in the house. It is NOT a second HI or opportunity to find things wrong with house. On our walk-thru, our realtor went through the house and turned on all the light switches, we ran all faucets, we turned on the A/C, we flushed toilets, we opened/closed doors, we ran the auto garage door openers, turned on the stove/oven, ran the dishwasher, etc. We did not check all the electrical outlets. We walked around the entire house.

    I've never heard of seller and/or seller's belongings remaining in the house after a closing. We moved out of our last house two weeks before closing. That gave us time to get everything moved, haul trash to the landfill, and thoroughly clean the house. The sellers of our new house had moved out many months prior, so that wasn't an issue.

  • logic
    16 years ago

    sparkelgirl, the reason the most HI's do not walk on roofs is because it is basically unnecessary risk...because with the proper magnification binoculars, any defects or deficiencies that are visible on the exterior can be seen.

    In addition, a good HI will also look at the sheathing in the attic....but ONLY if it is accessible. In other words...if the attic has no flooring, or nor clearance few HI's if any will enter.

    If an HI walks on a roof, there is real risk not only to bodily damageÂsuch as falling offÂbut also risk to the roofing material. AndÂif the attic sheathing is not accessible, there is not way to know if there is a risk of falling throughÂdue to a soft spot.

    That saidÂmost HIÂs donÂt walk on roofsÂthose who do generally charge a premium to do soÂ.and it is pretty much money wastedÂ.as it is a fallacy that one must walk on the roof to inspect it properly in terms of the limitations of a home inspectionÂwhich is a non-destructive inspection limited to what can be seen visually on the day of inspection.

    In addition, the HI is a generalistÂhe can tell you if something is not working as it should beÂbut since he is not a plumberÂelectrician, HVAC tech etc. (which in most places requires licensing) he cant tell you WHY its not working as it should beÂhence the recommendation to have the professional licensed in that particular discipline provide the answer.

    Otherwise, it would merely be a guessÂand if he guesses wrong, most buyers, if not allÂwill then complain that the HI gave them wrong infoÂ...if they had known, they would not have closed etc. More than a few HIÂs make this errorÂ..and then wonder why they get sued.

    If the temperature had been below 60 within 24 hours prior to the inspection, the A/C should not be operated as it risks damage to the unit.

    Regardless as to why he did not provide the answers that you hoped forÂthe best thing that you can do is heed the recommendationsÂprior to closingÂin order that you have recourse with the sellers.

    Last but not least, be very wary of the HI who refuses to provide a copy of the pre-inspection agreement until the day of inspection, as it will then be a real hardship for the buyer to cancel and reschedule if the agreement is not what is expected.
    Get it via email when the call to hire is first made, and then all buyers should carefully read the pre-inspection agreement BEFORE they commit to that particular order to fully understand the scope...and the limitations of the inspection.

  • terrig_2007
    16 years ago

    Logic: "That saidÂmost HIÂs donÂt walk on roofsÂthose who do generally charge a premium to do soÂ.and it is pretty much money wastedÂ.as it is a fallacy that one must walk on the roof to inspect it properly in terms of the limitations of a home inspectionÂwhich is a non-destructive inspection limited to what can be seen visually on the day of inspection."

    Wow, I so totally disagree. Our HI walked on the roof, and we are glad he did! He found a spot where shingles had been laid incorrectly, and then he went inside the house and found a puddle of water on the floor right under where that mistake was located. Our HI was very thorough...he also went into the attic. And he didn't charge us any extra for the roof or the attic. Our HI was a former construction manager...definitely more than just a "generalist."

    Where would the temperature be below 60 this time of the year? Northern Alaska?

  • logic
    16 years ago

    terrig 2007: "Wow, I so totally disagree. Our HI walked on the roof, and we are glad he did!"

    Glad it worked out well for you and that you were happy with the HI.

    Be that as it may, note I said "most". I did not say "all".

    That said, the problems you cited would be just a visible with the proper magnification binoculars....the puddle just confirms the problem.

    Lots of HIÂs do lots of things that are not necessarily in their own best interestÂor even that of the buyer. However, just because an HI does something or does not do somethingÂthat does not make it a standard practiceÂor one that is even necessary to perform the job properly.

    That is why a buyer should take a few moments to find out if their state regulates the professionÂ..and if so, educate themselves on what is requiredÂ.and ask to see the agreement beforehand to make certain the HI is offering an inspection that is in compliance with the law.

    If the state has no regulation, best bet is to at least hire an inspector who belongs to a professional HI organizationÂÂas one can at least learn their SOP, and discuss with the inspector exactly what he will do on the inspection.

    If a buyer learns that the inspector does not go on the roof (or inspect pools, or jetted tubs, or for mold etc., etc.), they are then free to call around to see if they can find one who willÂ opposed to being blindsided at the 11th hour.

    The point is that it is in the buyers best interest to throw out any pre-conceived assumptions, and perform due diligence in order to make sure they know ahead of time what the HI will and wonÂt be doing.....bearing in mind that although it seems important to find an HI who walks on the roof, it is basically a practice that is superfluousÂ.as the REAL key is to find an HI who knows how to correctly interpret what he seesÂ.who takes the time to perform a thorough inspectionÂ.and, who provides an informative report that is not a checklist and boiler plate.

    As far as in NJ in late June, the temp went down to 40 at night...and 50's in the, that said...depending upon when the house was inspected...or if its further north, seems that it could be possible....after all, temperture is pretty hard to lie about, as it is easily verified.

  • sb_mom
    16 years ago

    Terrig: "He found a spot where shingles had been laid incorrectly, and then he went inside the house and found a puddle of water on the floor right under where that mistake was located."

    Hmmm, perhaps the puddle of water on the floor would have tipped off the HI, even without a walk on the roof?

    Anyway, back to the OP, we had a similarly bad experience with an HI, as we picked the one recommended by our realtor when we bought our first home. When we sold the house a few years later, we learned of all sorts of problems that the HI never flagged. Realtors pick HIs who will get the deal done with the fewest hassles.

    This time, I knew we were in good hands when the seller's agent threw a fit about the guy we had picked.

  • terrig_2007
    16 years ago

    Logic: " the REAL key is to find an HI who knows how to correctly interpret what he seesÂ.who takes the time to perform a thorough inspectionÂ.and, who provides an informative report that is not a checklist and boiler plate."

    I guess we got lucky. Our HI spent 3+ hours with us at our new house inspecting everything, and then presented us with a very detailed and customized 30-page report complete with photos an descriptions of potential current and future problems. I've had the HIs who do the checklist/boilerplate...this guy provided service that went over and beyond anything I've ever experienced. We will be highly recommending him and will hire him again if we ever move again.

    50s in June! Wow. I'd love that. We're happy if there's a 70-degree day in the summer. High here today is 95 with the humidity to match.

  • terrig_2007
    16 years ago

    Sb_mom: "Hmmm, perhaps the puddle of water on the floor would have tipped off the HI, even without a walk on the roof?"

    Not necessarily. This particular puddle was found in the laundry room...could have been caused by a leaky washer for all we knew.

    By the way, our HI was recommended by our realtor. I've never experienced such a thorough home inspection or see such a thorough HI report. Not all realtors are self-serving.

  • logic
    16 years ago

    terrig 2007: "Not all realtors are self-serving."

    Or..maybe a lot more have wised up and realized that for long term success, the best bet is to refer only the HI's that do a great job.

    Here in NJ...which is supposedly the most litigious state in the country, a lot of agents have been burned by referring HI's who do the inspection for the real estate agent and not the buyer...because, once the HI gets sued out of business, in most cases, the E&O insurance is no longer in effect even for those inspections that were made while he was most E&O policies are "claims made".

    Consequently, the E&O policy "indeminity" that covers the referring realtor is also no longer in effect...which means they are in a huge pot of trouble when a law suit rears it's ugly...and now uninsured... head.

    IMO, the tanking of the RE market is going to result in a big shake out...with far less agents when all is said an done...and, far less HI's.

    Those left in the game will be a lot wiser.

  • sparksals
    16 years ago

    terrig-2007 - IIRC you're in Iowa? ARe you near Des Moines? We will be moving there in the next few months and I'd love the name of your inspector if he is near the DM area!

  • sparklegirl
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    just had my walkthru. we found painted patches of paint on kitchen ceilings (Master Bath is above kitchen) & another patch of paint on ceilings of one of the bedrooms. we found dampness around a nail pop on the ceiling in the basement underneath the kitchen. All this stuff wasn't there before when we toured the house the second time. we also found a large decidious tree & bush in the front yard dead/dying. trees we didn't really notice because it was early spring and still freezing cold.

    if i approach the seller about the ceiling he could deny there was a water leak and may be say it was something else like scratched the ceiling while moving (make up excuse). what to do or say?

    what are my options, remedies? i'm closing tomorrow. PLEASE HELP!!!

  • terrig_2007
    16 years ago

    Sparksals...I am in eastern Iowa. My HI was from the Quad Cities. I'm not sure if he does inspections in Des Moines (other side of the state), but I can send you his contact info, if you want. Let me know.

  • logic
    16 years ago

    First and foremostÂÂwhat state do you live in? This is important because disclosure rules vary from state to state.

    Second...since you are closing tomorrow...have your attorney (I DO hope you have an attorney) require that the sellers put money in escrow until it can be determined why there is dampness.

    Also, have your attorney ask the sellers to put in writing the reason that they painted those areas on the ceiling.

    Generally, when people are asked to go on record with something, they tend to not be so quick to lie...especially if you live in a state (such as NJ) where if they do so, they can be charged with fraud.

    As fart as the trees are concerned, consult your attorneyÂas he/she will be able to tell you if the seller has a responsibility to replace the trees.

    If you donÂt have an attorneyÂget one ASAPÂ.as clearly you need the advice of a attorney licensed to practice law in your state.

  • logic
    16 years ago

    "As fart as the trees..." OOPS!!

    That was supposed to read "As far as the trees...."LOL!!

  • terrig_2007
    16 years ago

    I agree on the attorney...don't just take the advice of your REA. Realtors do not know the law like an attorney does.

    As for the trees, you may not have a case there. When we had our final walk-thru, there were several downed or almost downed huge branches (we have huge trees in our backyard) that weren't there when we last saw the house (a big storm had gone through the area a few days before). DH wanted our realtor to mention this to the seller's realtor. She did, and the sellers drove by and looked at the branches. But we didn't make a big deal over it. No one really has control over storms and downed branches. You did see the trees before but just didn't pay attention. I don't think you can come back now and ask for remedy on the dying/dead trees.

    Wet ceilings, etc. are another matter. Someone does have control over that and there should be a remedy provided by the seller. I would definitely want to get someone (HI?, construction person?) in there to inspect the ceilings. You have every right to hear from the seller what happened. I agree w/Logic...get their explanation in writing and contact an attorney if you don't already have one. Good luck!

  • sparksals
    16 years ago

    sparklegirl - the wet marks on the ceilings were not there during the viewing of the home or the HI and they have been painted over? Sounds to me that the seller is attempting to cover it up, especially since it's been painted. Was this in the disclosure?

    You definitely need a lawyer pronto. DO NOT CLOSE on this house until this situation is rectified and there is a significant money held in escrow. Do not rely upon your realtor to advise you on this.

    Listen to logic. Get the lawyer to write a letter asking for a disclosure about the water on the ceilings.

    I also agree that the tree is a non-issue. Unless it is dangerous or could fall onto the house, I wouldn't bother with it. You could ask that money be set aside for its removal if you feel that it could pose a danger to the house. Since it was winter when you viewed the home, it is impossible to tell if the tree was dead at the time, so I think you should have the right to at least mention it. But it's a pick your battle kind of thing.... the water marks are most important.

    Logic - get yer mind outta the gutter! ;)

    terrig - thanks for the offer. We just found out that we're going to the Twin Cities now. *sigh* The joys of the federal govt!! lol

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