Should I Perform a Final Walk-Through When the Sellers Haven’t Moved Out Yet?
Final walk-throughs are a must, regardless of whether the seller has moved out yet or not. You need to confirm that the home is in the same condition as it was when you made your offer. And, you need to confirm that the seller followed through with any agreed-upon repairs. It’s harder to do this when the house is still full of someone else’s stuff, but it’s not something you should skip out on.
How Do I Perform a Final Walk-Through When Sellers Haven’t Moved Out?
Most sales contracts permit a final walk-through, so you will still get to do one, even if the sellers haven’t moved out yet. Your real estate agent needs to schedule the final walk-through with the seller or the seller’s agent since the seller is still living in the home. Your realtor should accompany you on the walk-through. And ideally, the sellers won’t be present during the walk-through.
The final walk-through is your chance to confirm that the property is in the same—or better—condition than it was when you last visited. If the seller didn’t move out yet, the walk-through is a little harder to pull off. After all, the seller’s stuff is still in the home, and new damage could occur once they finally move out.
Things to Look for in the Final Walk-Through
Remember, this final walk-through is your last shot to ensure the home is in the expected and agreed-upon condition. Don’t be shy when it comes to inspecting the home during this final walk-through. It’s important to confirm that the seller completed any requested repairs and that the items left in the home after purchase—light fixtures, sinks, select appliances—work properly.
- Confirm that agreed-upon repairs have been made
- Check for any exterior damage caused by recent storms
- Confirm that all fixtures (such as a porch light or chandelier) that the seller agreed to leave in the home are still in the home
- Confirm that all appliances the seller agreed to leave in the home are in the home; check that they work
- Flush the toilets and check for leaks or other issues
- Turn on the faucets and check for leaks
- Test the garage door openers
- Confirm that the heat and air conditioning work by turning them on and off
- Check the condition of any screens, hurricane shutters, or storm windows
- Look for unwanted items the seller left behind, such as trash, hazardous materials, or paint cans
- Open and close the doors and windows
- Check any outbuildings or other property features, such as a pool, playground equipment included in the purchase, a shed, etc.
What Options Do I Have If the Sellers Won’t Move Out?
Purchasing a home that the sellers currently live in can get complicated. In some cases, the sellers won’t move out before closing. Or in cases of foreclosure, maybe they aren’t planning to move out at all. If you’re dealing with one of these scenarios, there are a few different actions that you can take. As always, speak to your realtor for their perspective on the situation. You may also need to speak with a lawyer.
Reschedule the Closing for a Later Date
If you notice during the final walk-through that the sellers haven’t moved and your closing is within 24-48 hours, have your realtor reach out to their agent. Rescheduling the closing to a later date—after the seller vacates the property—might be in your best interest. Similarly, you could sign the closing papers but have them held in escrow until the seller completely moves out of the home.
Terminate the Contract & Get your Escrow Deposit Back
Part of your purchase and sales agreement for the home would have a provision that the seller should have moved out of the home prior to the final closing. If the seller refuses to vacate the property, your contract should allow you to walk away from the deal and get your escrow deposit back. You could walk away from the house without losing money, but you’d also need to start the home searching and buying process over. Review your contract to understand your rights in this scenario.
Follow Through with the Home Purchase & Evict the Sellers
You’ve invested a lot of time in your home search. You might decide that moving forward with the purchase is right for you and your family even if the sellers refuse to vacate the property. If that’s the case, you can purchase the home and then formally evict the sellers.
Evictions can be time-consuming and a bit of a headache. In Florida, an eviction takes three to four weeks. During that time, the seller is living in the home rent-free. And, you’re unable to move into the property. The eviction process, including alternate lodging while you await the delivery of possession of the home, can be costly. Fortunately, you might be able to sue the seller for attorney fees.
Agree to a Post-Occupancy Period & Charge Rent
Some sellers need more time to get packed up and moved out. If you’re willing to give them the time, you can agree to a post-occupancy period and charge rent. You would follow through with the home purchase and then collect an agreed-upon rent payment from the seller for an agreed-upon amount of time.
Bottom Line on Final Walk-Through When Sellers Haven’t Moved Out
Every home sale is unique. If you find yourself in a situation where the sellers haven’t moved out before the final walk-through, talk to your real estate agent. A good realtor will share advice specific to your home-buying situation. The team at SquareFootHomes can help you navigate the entire home buying process from start to finish, including the undesirable occasion where the sellers haven’t moved out yet.