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Don't Plotz Your Pre-Closing Walkthrough

03/29/22

We all know that moving out can be tough, and you would probably like to just close the door behind you and never look back.

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A guidebook and a cautionary tale rolled into one...

 

Sellers:

We all know that moving out can be tough, and you would probably like to just close the door behind you and never look back.

BUT if you want a smooth closing, be aware of your obligations, plan ahead, and add an extra sprinkle of consideration as U-haul into the sunset.

 

After all, you are moving into a new place also, and karma is a bitch.

1 - All light fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets must be working.

 

Replace any BURNED OUT LIGHTBULBS. If the buyer is unable to test one at the walkthrough, they may suspect an electrical issue that could be much more costly than a new lightbulb, and drama ensues. So leave them no mysteries.

2 - Do not remove any LIGHT FIXTURES or other objects permanently attached to the structure unless you have explicitly written that into your contract of sale.

 

And if you are taking the vintage Murano chandelier your grandma got on her honeymoon in Venice, you can replace it with a basic fixture. A simple $20 glass orb from Home Depot will do.

3 - Do not turn off your GAS OR ELECTRICITY! You can close your account later.

 

The buyer will need this to test the stove and appliances. And turning the gas back on in Manhattan is a costly and time-consuming process

4 - Buyers will turn on faucets, light each burner on the stove-top, flush the toilets, run the dishwasher, kick every tire.

 

If you are aware of ANYTHING NEEDING REPAIR, either fix it or check with your broker or attorney to see if you need to address it beforehand.

5 - In a post covid world where 20 of us no longer sit around the table together to close, make arrangements to get MULTIPLE SETS OF KEYS to the buyer.

 

If you have a doorman, it works well to leave them a set, and leave the extras inside the apartment. And don't forget the mailbox key!

6 - Legally you are only required to leave your apartment "BROOM CLEAN". But let's be honest, who owns a broom?

 

Be civilized and have a cleaning crew come through once you've moved. Treat your buyer the way you would like to be treated. Seriously, no one deserves to see that crusty fridge residue even if they were huge jerks during negotiations.

And if you still manage to fumble this...

The brokers will report back to the attorneys anything that is amiss, and they will negotiate either:

1. A credit to the buyer to fix the issues.

2. An amount of money held in escrow until the seller fixes the issues.

3. The closing may be adjourned until the apartment is ready to close.

Buyers:

Most contracts of sale are AS-IS!

Meaning any wobbly knobs, faded paint and nail holes after the art is removed from the wall, dented floors, loose tiles, rusty hinges, moldy cabinets, are going to be all yours - delivered in the condition they were in when you saw the apartment. If nothing else, plan to paint!

Windows are as-is too so test them before you sign the contract if their functionality is questionable.

- Test all ELECTRICAL OUTLETS (some are controlled by a wall switch).

- Run the HOT AND COLD WATER in the sinks and showers and flush the toilets.

- Run all APPLIANCES dishwasher, microwave, washer, and dryer.

- Test the GARBAGE DISPOSAL. HAHAHAHA just kidding you know you're not lucky enough to have one of those.

- Turn on the OVEN (check inside first!) and light all STOVETOP burners.

- Test HOOD vent and lights

- Test central AIR CONDITIONING AND HEATING. Window AC units may or may not be included in the contract, and if a building has steam heat, you will be unable to test, but the building is responsible for maintaining it.

- Look for any signs of new WATER DAMAGE

- Observe the SMOKE DETECTORS. You will have to sign an affidavit at closing representing that they are present and operable.​​​​​​​

- FIREPLACE? Well lah-di-dah. A seller's attorney may not be willing to represent that these will be delivered in working condition. So while we cannot test fireplaces at a walk-through, if they are not in the contract we advise buyers to have them professionally inspected prior to signing.

And here are the ones you may not have thought of...

- Bring a FRYING PAN if the apartment has an induction stovetop. They are designed to heat up only with a pan on top, so without one, you will be unable to verify that it is working

 

- Bring an OLD TOWEL OR TSHIRT. Some washers and dryers with sensors will not go on without an item inside, so unless you want to test it topless...

- Bring a CELL PHONE CHARGER or nightlight to test all of the outlets. If you find a dud, make sure to play with the light switches to see if that turns it on

 

- Ask for the seller's CON-ED account number, which will make it easier to transfer the utility services to you.

 

- Make an appointment with the CABLE/WIFI PROVIDER well in advance, as they are short-staffed and recently it has been taking a long time to see a technician.

...then take a chill pill 💊

The seller removed their TV and there is a fist-sized hole in the wall. They are contractually obligated to patch it, but not to paint it. So even if they do their part, it's going to look like crap anyway. So if they DON'T do their part, your painter can easily patch it in the painting process. Choose your battles.

 

So now your apartment is flawless, and you are ready to sign your life away (walkthroughs usually happen a day before, or the morning of closing). Come move-in day, I always suggest using moving tasks as a way to meet your building staff. Overtip them for their assistance with removing your extra cardboard recycling, and be an instant super's-pet.

 

First impressions (steamroller joke)... you know the drill.

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