Standard for Buyer’s Walk-Through Inspection
“I know it when I see it.”
–United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s threshold test for defining obscenity.
What’s fair game for raising issues during the Buyer’s walk-through inspection? (typically, conducted within 48 hours of closing).
In (and Out) of Bounds; The Golden Rule
In practice, such major problems as flooded basements, roof damage, broken furnaces or central a/c units are all fair game (and things you’d certainly expect a Seller — at least one who was still living in the home — to be aware of and already addressing).
Out-of-bounds: minor, handyman-type issues and — while upsetting to many Buyers — less than pristine fridges, floors and toilets.
While the standard is ill-defined, my advice to departing Sellers is to follow The Golden Rule: leave the home in the same condition you would expect if you were the Buyer.
P.S.: short sales and foreclosures are special cases, where the Seller’s willingness and/or ability to make last-minute repairs — or reduce the sales price in lieu thereof — may be limited.
*Accountants’ term for “substantially the same condition” is “materiality.”
So, a $100,000 issue for a $100 million corporation is most certainly not material (at least for its management, auditor, and investors).
A $5 million item clearly would be.