Alexandria VA Home Sellers: The Walk Through – One Man’s Treasure
Just prior to settlement, the Buyers of your Alexandria VA home, along with their real estate agent, will conduct a “Walk Through” of your property to insure it is in essentially the same condition as it was at the time of either contract date or date of home inspection, whichever option the Buyers chose in Paragraph 7 (Property Maintenance and Condition) of the Regional Sales Contract.
Contractually, in this same paragraph, you agree to deliver the property free and clear of trash and debris as well as “broom clean.”
There is no shortage of real estate urban legends told by buyers’ agents of the endless array of items left in homes by Sellers who don’t want to fool with disposing or moving them, especially if they are considered Hazardous Household waste, as paint and oil, as well as many common household cleaners and garden chemicals are.
And almost 100% of the time, the Buyers don’t want to dispose of or move them, either.
That’s where the Walk Through comes in. When the Buyers go through the house and see what the Seller has left behind, their agent will make a note on the Walk Through Inspection form and believe me, it WILL be addressed at settlement if not before.
Unless you are prepared to go back to the property and load up everything you left behind, the Buyers will be asking for a credit so they can have anything left behind removed and hauled away by professionals. And you know what that means – less money for your bottom line.
Sometimes Sellers believe they are leaving behind all of sorts of goodies the Buyers will be happy to have – that second vacuum cleaner, a case of motor oil, an old lawn mower – but in reality, the Buyers already have 2 vacuums, don’t change their own oil and have a brand new lawn mower.
What they really need is space in the garage of their new house to store everything they already own.
While some people take it in stride and just say, “don’t worry, I’ll get rid of everything,” other people are seriously upset because their plans for making room for everything being unloaded off their moving truck later that day are being disrupted.
And when people are upset by something someone else has done, well, they want that “someone else” (that would be, in this case, you) to rectify the situation.
Believe me, this is not a discussion you want to have at the closing table. And it’s also something that can easily be avoided by doing the following:
- If you have something in your house you believe the Buyer may be interested in, then have your real estate agent contact the Buyer’s agent with a complete description of what it is you think they may want to keep. Send pictures whenever possible, so there is no mistake about what it is you are leaving. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
- When it comes to Hazardous Household items, again, don’t assume the new Buyers want those leftover cans of paint or weed killer for the backyard. They may be planning on having the entire house repainted or they may not like the brand of herbicide you use. On the other hand, they may be thrilled – but the key is to ASK and get their permission before assuming they will want what you are leaving.
- To be on the safe side, have your agent prepare a statement itemizing everything the Buyer has agreed to keep, and have it signed.
Always remember the old adage, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” – and vice versa.