Pre-Closing Walk-Through Information
Most contracts for the sale of real estate (except for new construction sales) in New York provide that the property is being sold in “as is” condition. This means that as of the date of closing, the property will be in the same condition as it was in at the time the contract was signed. Thus, if a window was broken when the contract was signed, the seller has no obligation to fix it. However, if the window was not broken when the contract was signed, but is broken now, the seller must either fix it or credit the buyer for the broken window.
After the Closing, the seller has NO obligations whatsoever. Therefore, anything on the premises that is not in the same condition as it was in when the contract was signed MUST be addressed at Closing; otherwise it will become the buyer’s responsibility. As such, it is imperative to do what’s called a “walk-through” prior to Closing so that any issues will be addressed at the Closing.
Generally, it is recommended that the buyer do the following during the walk-through:
- Turn on and off every light fixture
- Run water & look under sinks for leaks
- Test all appliances
- Check the garage door openers
- Open and close all doors
- Flush toilets
- Inspect ceilings, wall and floors
- Run garbage disposal and exhaust fans
- Test heating and air conditioning
- Open and close all windows
- Make sure there is a smoke alarm on the premises, as required by law
- Make sure all items the seller promised to fix have actually been fixed
- Make sure the premises are vacant (unless agreed otherwise)
- Make sure all debris and furniture is removed from the home (unless agreed otherwise)
The Buyer should bring the following items to the walk-through:
- Light bulbs (to confirm that the light fixture itself and not the bulb is not working)
- Camera (to take pictures for proof)
Some Advice for a Smooth Closing:
- Manage Expectations: Unless the appliance is new, do not expect it to function as a brand new appliance.
- Be Reasonable: If a knob is missing from the oven, do not expect the seller to buy you a brand new oven.
- Be Prepared: Often times the Seller will refuse to pay for anything, despite a contractual obligation to do so. Be prepared to deal with a difficult seller and decide for yourself prior to closing if you are ready to walk away from the closing table should the seller not agree to your requests.