Riverside Realtor Blog - Alma Dizon

Alma shares her experiences and observations as a Realtor in Riverside California.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Final Walk-Through Isn't a Contingency

I had a bizarre experience last week where the buyer's agent told her not to sign the final walk-through form (Verification of Property Condition) because the sellers had left a bit of a mess in the garage and the grass needed to be cut. The agent, who was also the loan officer, actually threatened to hold up funding until the place was cleaned up.

First, the final walk-through isn't a contingency. It's a piece of paper on which the buyer can note down any repairs that haven't been made and any new problems. It has to be done shortly before closing, and the seller also signs it. Basically, it provides a paper trail should the buyer wish to take legal action (usually of the small claims variety).

Second, as I explained to the buyer, delaying funding would only hurt her. My sellers would have been well within their right to dump her at that point. They would have lost time and money, but they could have put their house back on the market. After all, they had something to sell.

As my sellers had already moved, their gardener had disappeared, and their friends had run out of room in the dumpster, I hired some help and participated in the clean-up. The loan funded, title recorded, all before the clean-up could finish. So the buyer never got to sign a final walk-through at all, and now she doesn't have that paperwork.

In the meantime, I'm still trying to get a waiver signed, saying that she had been advised to have a final walk-through. I have a check that the sellers had agreed to give her outside of escrow for some repairs that her lender wouldn't allow them to pay for earlier. Once I get the waiver signed, I'll give her that check.


  • At 7/09/2006 6:10 PM, Anonymous jf said…

    this points out the importance of having a lawyer or experienced broker draft a contract which makes clear these oft overlooked items. After contract many sellers discontinue maintenance & service contracts---pool, lawn, landscape, etc. It is therefore impt to have contract language that says, eg, all maintenance contracts to remain in effect until closing...house vacant & broom clean, cut lawn, clean pool etc.
    sellsius real estate

  • At 7/09/2006 7:42 PM, Blogger Alma Jill Dizon, Riverside Realtor said…

    Yes, clarity is important. In California, the residential purchase agreement already addresses the matter, so it's not necessary to have a lawyer restate it. But the listing agent should make sure the sellers understand that they're contractually obliged to keep the property up--and be prepared to clean up if they aren't able to at the end!

    CA RPA 1/06 p. 3, 7A
    Unless otherwise agreed: (i) the Property is sold (a) in its PRESENT physical condition as of the date of Acceptance and (b) subject to the Buyer’s Investigation rights; (ii) the Property, including pool, spa, landscaping and grounds, is to be maintained in substantially the same condition as on the date of Acceptance, and (iii) all debris and personal property not included in the sale shall be removed by Close of Escrow.


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