When you begin working with a client who is trying to sell his or her home, getting your client to closing day is what it’s all about. You will likely have numerous people who show interest in the home, but when one buyer makes an offer, you and your client can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Your hard work and persistence is paying off. However, if closing day is on the horizon, this is not the time to get comfortable.
While signing the papers and exchanging the keys seal the deal, you may not even get to the table for closing if the walk-through goes badly. Most walk-throughs occur with no setbacks or problems. Nevertheless, unless you are diligent with your seller client, you could end up facing costly delays or worse—the cancellation of the sale. The last thing a buyer wants is unwelcome surprises at this phase of a real estate transaction, and you can take steps to ensure the only surprises are good ones.
Putting the sale in jeopardy
Your client is probably not excited about the prospect of losing the sale or having to take a buyer to court for breaching the sales agreement. Nevertheless, a buyer may have cause to cancel the sale after the walk-through. The final walk-through, which usually happens in the days or hours immediately preceding closing, is the buyer’s chance to ensure the sellers have left the property in the condition which the contract stipulates. Your client could blow this by doing any of the following:
- Failing to make repairs he or she agreed to make after the home inspection
- Leaving behind appliances or fixtures that stopped working after the inspection
- Disconnecting the utilities
- Leaving behind dirt, trash or lawn debris
- Leaving furniture or other items the buyer did not agree to keep
- Removing items the contract stipulates should convey with the home
- Damaging the home, such as leaving holes or scuffs on the walls, while moving out
The buyers will likely open every door, turn on every appliance and flip every switch during the walk-through. Since you and your client will probably not be present, it is important that you take some time beforehand to preview what the sellers will see. You might have to offer your client some suggestions for getting the house ready, and your client should understand that this is an important key to ensuring a smooth closing.