This topic of walk-throughs seems to come up time and time again and many times it seems to draw the ire of many a buyer. Please make a note of this once and for all!
Walk-throughs are not an entitlement granted to the buyer unless the purchase agreement specifically allows for it. They used to do these many, many years ago as a matter of course, just as we did any number of things differently back then. Over time, lawyers, sellers and agents have become more cognoscente of the futility of agreeing to such a practice.
Buyers want to ensure that the property they are purchasing is in substantially the same condition as when they viewed it. They are mistaken in thinking that somehow this offers them some protection, and that they may be in a position to renegotiate should they find something amiss.
“Walkthroughs are not an inherent right unless specifically contemplated for in the Purchase Agreement ”
The Purchase Agreement is a legally binding document which all parties must respect. To imply that a the transaction is somehow contingent on the buyer’s satisfaction of a walk-through the day before possession is unrealistic and dangerous. No Seller will ever agree to that!
We must go on the pretext that all parties are in compliance with the terms and conditions of the offer. Only after the possession has occurred and the moneys have transferred does the buyer have any rights under common law for recourse on the seller. There will be no renegotiation of the agreement beforehand.
I still do get the odd old time practitioner of real estate who requests a walk-through and it almost always gets turned down for that reason. I’ve been told “I’ve been doing this for 40 years in my practice” and it really just demonstrates how out of touch they have become with the realities of today’s world.
Again, unless the Purchase Agreement specifically contemplates a walk-through or hold-back by their solicitor for possible deficiencies upon closing it is usually not going to happen. That is not to say your lawyer may not be able to hold back funds for deficiencies in the Real Property Report, which I believe there are allowances for under the Law Society of Alberta Conveyancing Protocol which is quite another matter.
Having said that, there are seldom any significant problems on closing. Almost always the parties will respect their agreement, and if a minor problem comes to light, people usually do their best to resolve the misunderstanding which, in most cases is just that; a misunderstanding.
Sellers may not be overly enthusiastic about agreeing to any holdback provisions unless there is a good probability that the buyer has grounds for requesting it. For example where the property is in great disarray or disrepair on viewing, and there are specific terms in the agreement which the buyer has addressed, such as the removal of trash or repair of an appliance. They are also not likely to agree to a walk-through for the reasons stated above but it is certainly within your rights to request one at the time the offer is presented.
Occasionally I get a call from a buyer, nearer to the possession date requesting such a walk-through, and they are almost always alarmed that the seller might not agree to one. More often than not, the Seller will not. For more information please visit my website at www.calgarymike.com