Your Journey Home ---- the last few items
All’s been approved, repairs have been done and the appraisal has been completed and sent off to the loan underwriter by your lender for final approval. All that’s left to do is to pack …. You hope.
In your haste to pack … do not pack any important financial documents. TRUST ME, the lender will be calling and asking for some document that you know you have already provided. But even more important than that is under no circumstances should you incur any new debt. While it may seem like a good idea to go out and buy that new refrigerator so it can be delivered the day you move in, it isn’t. I promise you the lender will pull your credit report 24hrs prior to closing and any new expenses can and will derail the closing. My advice to buyers – especially to a first time buyer is if you cannot pay for an item in cash … don’t purchase it, wait till after closing and funding.
One other thing that you will need to do just before closing is your final walk-thru. What is the final walk-through? It's your last chance to identify any problems before you move in. The walk-through generally takes place 1-2 days before the closing – once the seller has moved their belongings out of the house, if possible. Here's a checklist of items to look over on your final walk-through:
-Check to make sure that all agreed to repairs have been completed and that you have copies of any receipts for those repairs.
- Electrical fixtures. Turn switches on and off to make sure everything is functioning properly.
- Plumbing. All the faucets in the kitchen, bathroom, and the exterior of the house should be turned on to make sure they are connected and there is decent water pressure. Flush the toilets to make sure they are draining properly.
- Exhaust. Test fans in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room to make sure they are functional.
- Windows and doors. Do they close properly? Are they latching correctly? Do all of the locks work?
- Appliances. Run a check of the stove, oven, dishwasher, garbage disposal, trash compactor, refrigerator and freezer, washer and dryer, and any other appliances that the previous owner left behind.
- Environmental controls. Are the heating and air conditioning working properly? Check the furnace and make sure the water heater is providing adequately hot water.
- Safety. Are the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors plugged in or are their batteries charged?
- Damage. Is there any evidence of disrepair, including leaks and water damage, that wasn't noted in your inspection report? Be especially vigilant to make sure that floors, walls, and door frames haven't been damaged during the removal of furnishings. Examine both the interior and exterior of the home for anything that needs to be repaired.
Make sure you haven't been left with any trash or belongings that the previous owner neglected to remove. Verify the presence of all items (appliances, window treatments, etc.) that were supposed to be part of the transaction.
- Keys. Make certain you have keys to all doors, outbuildings, and mailboxes as well as the garage door opener.
- Documents. Ask that the seller leave behind manuals for any household systems or appliances that will remain with the house. If there are home blueprints, records of modifications or renovations to the house, or other information that would be useful to have when you move in, make sure that you ask for them.
If the previous owner has been diligent, the home should be clean and you should be able to move right in with a minimum of extra work.
You will need to make sure that you have switched out utilities and have service turned on in your name – especially critical utilities such as gas, electricity & water – you don’t want those services turned totally off. If they get turned off, it will most likely result in a reconnection fee which could be more costly than a name change on a bill – and let’s not forget that in cold temperature climates, turning off the heat (be it gas or electric) can result in frozen pipes and broken water lines ….
It’s best to try and schedule your closing in the morning – that way funding can most likely occur in the early afternoon and you can get the keys to your new home and move in. This is especially critical with new construction. Most builders will not turn over the keys to a property until they have their funds in the bank. Sometimes the seller will have negotiated that they have a day after the closing to move out if this is agreeable to you that’s OK – but remember if that is the case you may not be able to do an empty home final walk-thru.
BUT YOU HAVE MADE IT!!! You are now HOME! All you need to do now is move in your boxes, decide where to place your belongings.