homepage logo

Fischer: Baring it all about the importance of home walk-throughs

By Jen Fischer - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Feb 23, 2024

Photo supplied

Jen Fischer

One of the earlier days of my real estate career, I found myself waiting at the doorstep for a seller to answer the door. I was representing the buyer, and we were 24 hours away from closing. Inspections had been done, the repairs had been negotiated and completed and the appraisal had come in right at the asking price. The loan lender, processor and underwriter had all done their jobs accordingly and the title company had done a thorough title search and insured clear title on the home. My client’s money was in the account ready for closing. The final step before signing was the walk-through on the home. What could possibly go wrong?

My client could not get away from work and asked if I could do a final walk-through for him to be sure the home was in the same condition it had been when he had walked through it during inspections. There was only one repair, a leaking faucet, that the seller had agreed to have fixed, and we had the receipt in hand from a licensed plumber. We were cruising. Noticing that the seller appeared to still be in the home, I knocked on the door.

“Come on in,” she yelled from the top of the stairs. I entered to find her sitting in a chair, completely unclad. She had not one single stitch of clothing on her. I stood at the bottom of the stairs, unsure of what to say or do next.

Finally, I responded, while staring at the floor in front of me, “I’m just here to do a quick walk-through of the home before we close. Would you like me to come back?” I had spoken to her Realtor before to set an appointment for the walk-through but perhaps she had forgotten.

“No problem, I was expecting you,” she exclaimed. “Come on in.” She then proceeded to grab a very small washcloth from the counter, sit back down, and partially cover her nether regions; however, every time she shifted, which I was silently imploring that she would refrain from, the washcloth would fall aside. It was horrifying. I quickly made my way through and thanked her. She invited me to have a seat. There was absolutely and unequivocally no way I was going to sit on the other chair that remained in the room. I promptly departed and called the seller’s agent.

“Oh yes,” he said, “I probably should have warned you. She doesn’t like to wear clothes when she’s at home.” Well, thanks for the heads up, friend. Either way, we closed and the next day the home was vacant.

While this walk-through would be considered structurally innocuous, it did leave me with an unfortunate image that would be permanently branded into my mind. Some things you just can’t unsee. Despite the PTSD from the event, however, both parties closed (not clothes-ed) without a hitch. Unfortunately, not every walk-through has the same ending.

Throughout my career, I have had the fortuitous experience of experiencing delayed closings after walk-throughs on both sides of the transaction table. I have represented sellers who have left the home far less than broom clean, and I have had sellers experience a toilet malfunction that resulted in the total loss of the two floors below, the day before closing. Both events delayed closing, but both were quickly mitigated.

The final walk-through is an opportunity to be sure that the home has remained consistent with what the buyers had agreed to purchase, per contract, as well as check repairs that were agreed to be made by the seller. All the systems should be working properly, and the home should be “broom clean” (subject to wide interpretation). What it is not a time to do is to make a new list of repairs that had not been requested during the due diligence period. Sadly, this happens. It just happened on a listing of my own. The buyer’s agent did a final walk-through and sent me pictures that included a doorway with peeling paint, a missing window well covering, a crack in the cement in the driveway and a missing screen. These were all items that had been in the same condition when they did the home inspection. I referred the agent back to the initial repair addendum and after much ado, about literally nothing, he conceded. We closed and funded on schedule.

Likely, the final walk-through will result in excited and enthusiastic clients, and everyone will frolic to the closing table, sign papers, live happily ever after in their dream home and everyone will wear clothes when people come over like we are supposed to. However, clothes or no clothes, the final walk-through is a pretty big deal.

Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jen@jen-fischer.com.


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)