The purchase agreement has been negotiated and executed by all parties. The home inspection has been completed with no repairs indicated. The mortgage loan has been ap-proved, and now the only thing left to complete is the final walk-through of the property and closing the transaction.
Generally, the final walk-through takes place the day before closing or day of closing. This allows the buyers and their agent the opportunity to go through the property and check all major appliances, pool pump, air conditioner, stove and any other components to make sure they are operating and functioning correctly. So, what happens when a major appliance is not working on the day of closing?
The buyer's agent will notify the listing agent to describe what is not working properly. The listing agent will then notify the sellers of the issue. However, the responsibility of the respective parties to the contract depends on which contract form was used to solidify the transaction. When an "as is" contract is used, the buyer has the right to inspect the property, determine to what extent any repairs have to be made and then decide whether to proceed with the transaction, or cancel it. An "as is" contract does not allow the sellers a free ride. Any known defects that may materially affect the value of the property must be disclosed. If the home inspector misses something during the inspection period, but is later discovered during the final walk-through, the repairs will generally be assumed by the buyers.
The sellers are required to maintain the property is the same condition as it appeared on the effective date of the contract to purchase. What that means is that if everything was working on the day the last parties signed and initialed the contract (effective date), then everything should be in the same condition on the day of closing which may be four or six weeks after the effective date of the contract. In the event the air conditioning system is not working during the final walk-through, presumably the seller would take responsibility to have the unit repaired prior to closing. However, in the event the property is a short sale or foreclosure, the buyer runs the risk of assuming the repairs in the event the lender refuses to compensate. Generally, the lender makes no representations as to the actual condition of the property at the time of closing.
When conducting home inspections, it is important to hire a licensed inspector. Depending on the visual condition of the property, the extent of the inspection boundaries should be evident. I hope this information is helpful. It is not intended to be a legal opinion, nor should this information be relied upon. If you do not understand the contract you are about to enter, please seek legal advice.
Mario is a broker associate with Realty World Florida, Inc. Mr. D'Artagnan is a former investigator for the Florida Real Estate Commission. He is also a former real estate instructor. Mr. D'Artagnan is a published author and has been a keynote speaker on the subject of agency law. Mario is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. For questions or comments contact Mr. D'Artagnan at: email@example.com or call 239-565-4445.