“Substantially the Condition,” Defined (Sort of)
[Note to Readers: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway, or any other entity referenced. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.]
“Buyer has the right to a walk-through review of the property prior to closing to establish that the property is in substantially the same condition as of the date of this Purchase Agreement.”Minnesota residential Purchase Agreement; lines 358. — 360.
“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). At least in Minnesota, any changes to the home since the Purchase Agreement was finalized that substantially alters the home’s condition.
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
See also, “Home Buyer’s Final Walk-Through Inspection.”