One of the final steps is a final walk-through, arranged through your real estate agent, at least a week before closing. You do this to ensure the house’s condition hasn’t changed since your last visit, and, more importantly, that any agreed-upon repairs have been made and that the terms of your contract will be met. This is because after the closing there is no going back to the seller.  The deal is finalized at the closing.

You should bring along a checklist of things to do during the final walk-through, including: Check the exterior of the home, especially if there have been strong wind or rain storms since your last visit, or if there had been snow on the ground and you are now getting a chance to see the earth around the home; Turn all light fixtures on and off; Make sure the seller hasn’t removed any fixtures, such as chandeliers, that he or she agreed to leave behind; Check all major appliances; Turn heat and/or air conditioning on and off; Turn on water faucets; check for leaks under sinks; Test the garage door openers; Flush all toilets; Open and close all windows and doors; Do a visual spot-check of ceilings, walls and floors; Turn on the garbage disposal and exhaust fans; Check the status of any agreed-upon repairs; Check screens and storm windows. If they’ve been stored, make sure you know where they are and that they’re in good shape; Look in storage areas to make sure no trash or unwanted items remain; Do a quick check of the grounds.

Some sellers have dug up and taken plants (even small trees or bushes) with them.  This items should have been identified during your home inspection by your inspector.  They will have provided you with a list of issues they had identified, and your attorney would have negotiated with the seller for certain things to be fixed.  Make sure each and every item is complete on your list!  I have seen properties in Fairfield where windows have been removed prior to closing!

Closing costs are fees charged by lenders and third parties — related to the purchase of the home. So, in addition to owing the lender the down payment on the home and the principal and interest related to the mortgage, you will also owe the lender and third parties closing costs, which you usually pay at the time that you close on your mortgage. Most of the time, it is the homebuyer who pays the closing costs, rather than the seller, though on some loans such as VA loans, the seller pays a portion of these costs.

Closing costs vary widely based on where you live and the property you buy. Typically, homebuyers will pay between about 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price of their home in closing costs. Some of these costs include your title insurance, your attorneys fees, and recording fees.  You can also avoid upfront closing costs by getting a no-closing cost mortgage, in which you don’t pay any of the closing costs when you close on the mortgage.

Given the market for mortgages, this is something you should attempt to negotiate with the lender because they will be making hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest and your costs are minimal to them but significant to you.  However, make sure the costs are not given free but added into the load by way of a higher interest rate.   Typically, when a lender offers a deal like this, it does end up costing you in the long run: The lender may charge you a higher interest rate on the loan for not paying closing costs, or the lender may wrap the closing costs into the total mortgage owed, in which case you end up paying interest on the closing costs. Finally, homebuyers can negotiate with the seller over who pays these closing costs. Sometimes the seller will agree to assume the buyer’s closing costs.

Jill Ruane is a Connecticut real estate attorney known as “LadyClosings” who handles the legal side of buying and selling real estate in Fairfield and New Haven Counties in Connecticut. She is available for FREE consultations at 203-275-9442

By Alex

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