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Q&A: What is a 'walk-through'?

Q: I was told I have to take a "walk through" before I purchase my house. Do I have to and what’s the exact reason?

A: Right before closing -- usually within 48 hours -- the buyer does a "walk through" of the house to make sure that it is in the condition stated or required by the contract, says real estate attorney John Reali in Jericho. Usually the contract provides that the plumbing, heating and electrical systems and the appliances are in working order. “The buyer should check these items by trying the appliances, flushing the toilets, running the water tap and checking the lights, etc. The walk-through is also to make sure that items promised in the contract -- washing machine, window air condition units, light fixtures, etc. -- have not been removed by the seller,” says Reali.

It’s also the time to make sure that there are no holes or broken windows that didn’t exist at the time the contract was signed, he adds.

If the house is delivered vacant at the closing, there is usually no escrow held for the protection of the buyer, except in a case where there is an inground pool and money is held in escrow to make sure the pool works properly in the spring or summer, says Reali.

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