March 7th, 2014 Categories: Questions and Answers
Pre-Settlement Inspection Checklist
You’ve found that dream home, come to agreement with the seller on price and terms, successfully negotiated the home inspection repair items, received your appraisal and loan commitment… The only thing left to do (other than packing and moving, of course) is your pre-settlement inspection, sometimes referred to as your walk-thru.
Tempting as it may be to use the time for taking some last minute measurements of the windows or to plan your furniture placement, it’s important to focus on the matter at hand: making sure that everything included in the contract is present and any deficiencies identified in the home inspection are corrected.
- UTILITIES – Confirm in advance that utilities are turned on. If the property is vacant, it’s possible the current owner has turned them off. You can’t do a thorough walk-through inspection without using electricity and water.
- CONTRACT OF SALE – Bring a copy of your signed sales contract to verify that the appliances and other “inclusions” in your contract – such as window coverings, fireplace tools, and pool equipment – are present in the property. If the seller has left anything NOT in the contract that you don’t want, ask the seller to remove the item(s) from the property prior to closing.
- DISCLOSURES – Bring a copy of the Maryland Property Condition Disclosure/Disclaimer form. Even if the seller “disclaimed”, the list of unanswered questions in the disclosure form may be helpful to you during your walkthrough.
- HOME INSPECTION REPORT – Bring a copy of the report received from your home inspector AND a copy of the addendum listing any deficiencies that the seller agreed to correct. Be sure to confirm that said items have been repaired or replaced to your satisfaction and list any that have not. If your addendum indicated that work must be performed by a licensed contractor, request a copy of the paid invoices prior to closing.
- VOLTAGE DETECTOR – Bring an inexpensive voltage detector (or at least a night light) to test all the electrical outlets. And don’t forget to test the light switches to look for mystery switches.
- APPLIANCES – Operate all of the appliances to make sure they’re functioning properly.
- SMOKE DETECTORS – Test all of the smoke detectors.
- KEYS – Confirm that keys are available for all locks and try them to make sure they work.
- GARAGE DOOR OPENER – Confirm that the garage door openers are present and test them to make sure they work.
- HVAC SYSTEM – Turn on the heat or air conditioning to make sure they work. However, it may not be possible to operate the air conditioning in freezing temperatures. If you’re not able to test any element of the HVAC system, you may want to purchase a home warranty if one was not included in the sale.
- PLUMBING – Run the faucets, flush the toilets, etc., to confirm that the plumbing is operating correctly. Be sure to run hot water to confirm the hot water heater is operating. If not, it may be turned off… you’ll need to ask the seller to turn it on so you can go back another time to confirm that it is okay.
- PENCIL & PAPER – Bring pencil and paper or an electronic device for listing any issues that you identify during your pre-settlement inspection. You may decide to let some of them go and proceed to settlement, but this list could serve as a to-do list for you.
It’s possible that your real estate agent will have a pre-settlement checklist for you to use, but it may or may not include everything mentioned above.
One last thought…
Chances are that your current home is packed and you’re ready to move. It’s okay to accept some things you find during the final pre-settlement inspection and take care of them yourself so you can go to settlement without any further delays. Discuss this option with your agent.
Remember, tensions and exhaustion may be high for everyone involved in this transaction… it may not be worth it to make a big deal out of something you can fix for under $100.