Buying a House - The Preclosing Inspection

When buying a home, the pre-closing inspection will ensure you are getting what you paid for. A quick and simple visit with your real estate agent to make sure the seller is delivering on the agreed to terms of the agreement of purchase and sale.

You've been waiting for this day for what seems like forever, but finally, you will be closing the deal on your new home and moving in.  Prior to money changing hands, there is an important step that will be asked of you.

Prior to closing the deal on your home purchase, your solicitor will request you do a preclosing inspection of the property.  You, along with your real estate agent, will make an appointment to view the home, normally before you meet with your lawyer to sign off on the deal.  This is your final opportunity to check the house over, to ensure that its condition is the same as it was when you negotiated the terms of your offer.

A home seller is expected to leave the property in a reasonable condition, and if the offer was made subject to appliances remaining or work being completed, your preclosing inspection is used to ensure all is as it should be.  The following items should be checked prior to handing over your hard earned dollars.

  • All fixtures are those that were in the home when the offer was negotiated.  You would be surprised at how many chandeliers get replaced with a simple fixture before the closing date, and how many buyers, in their state of excitement, won't notice the change.  This is your opportunity to ensure you are getting what you asked for.  Once you sign off on the deal and the closing becomes official, it will be too late.
  • All appliances are those that were included at the time of your negotiations and are working.  Just like your light fixtures, that brand new front loading Maytag can be easily swapped out.  Make sure the ones you offered on are the ones that are staying.  Don't be afraid to turn them on, as you don't want to be burdened with lugging appliances out the door when you are busy moving your whole life in.
  • Check the hot water, to ensure the tank is working properly.  If the house is on a well, run all faucets to ensure pumps and holding tanks are operating as they should be.
  • Check heat sources to ensure they are being transferred in good working order.
  • Check out buildings.  You want to make sure the garage hasn't been used to store garbage, old paint, etc.  Homes should be delivered to the new purchaser free and clear of debris, unless of course, other options have been negotiated and agreed to.
  • Check for window treatments.  Even though you may not have requested them, curtain rods, blinds, or anything with hardware attached to the walls are considered to be a fixture and should remain with the home on closing, unless otherwise agreed to by both buyer and seller.

Ultimately, your preclosing viewing is the final escape clause of your real estate contract.  If the seller is not delivering to you what was negotiated within your purchase and sale agreement, you do have cause for complaint.  If they have left a pile of garbage, old automobiles, switched appliances after negotiations were firm, or have done any damage to the home while moving, the preclosing viewing offers the home buyer the opportunity to settle these issues prior to closing the deal. 

The way you choose to handle these issues should be discussed with your legal counsel.  Quite often the situation can be rectified by simple action on the part of the seller, like getting rid of the garbage pile, or you may be able to negotiate a cash adjustment so you can address the issue yourself.  Either way, the preclosing viewing of the home, gives you the piece of mind in knowing the deal went down as it was agreed to.

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Abdel-moniem El-Shorbagy
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Jerry Walch
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