Vail Daily column: Closing from afar
I have a home under contract that I have only seen twice. I live in another state and will not be able to return until after the closing. My concern is the inspection, the inventory list and the final walk through. Who will do this for me? Can my real estate agent do all this? What if something is wrong, broken or missing when I finally arrive and I have already closed on the property? What do you suggest I do?
Dear Soon to be Second-Home Owner,
These are all important issues, but luckily none are insurmountable. To begin with, you should receive a “seller’s property disclosure” stating what appliances stay and what the current condition for all the different components is. Then, your real estate broker will give you a list of two or three inspectors in the valley and you can interview all of them to choose the one right for you. The inspector will give you a written report with pictures when he completes the inspection, plus he will let you know the radon level (remember to order a radon test) and if you need to negotiate a mitigation procedure if the radon level is too high. The thing to remember here is that if you are concerned with the electrical systems or heating system, then it is best to have specialists look at the electronics and check the furnace/heating system specifically. This is a small added expense, but well worth it on most homes, as the inspectors do not do an in-depth inspection.
As far as the inventory list goes, the seller should provide you with an inventory list if any furnishings are included. If they say “everything” is included, with a few exclusions, then you will need to decide if you want your broker and the listing broker to go through and list every little thing (which I have done before!) and/or you can have your real estate broker send you pictures of all of the items in the entire home. Remember, the inspector usually only checks the appliances that are staying, i.e. the washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, wine chiller, jetted tub, etc., but they do not check the toaster, blenders or waffle irons. If these are a concern of yours, then you could pay extra and ask your inspector to check every little thing. I think it is best not to be obsessed with the small items, as the main purpose is to get the home you want, have it function well and include the main features you are expecting.
The last question you had was about the final walk through prior to closing. This varies with the physical condition of the house. Is it empty? Or is it left completely furnished, or somewhere in between? I would probably pay my home inspector to go through one more time, along with my real estate broker to make sure there are no glaring concerns. If the concern is high, then it is best to put a clause in the contract when you first write the offer, saying that the seller represents or warrants that the following items will be in good working condition on the day of closing and include the entire inventory list. These closings happen every day in our valley and luckily, most sellers are honest people that want you to enjoy the home as much as they did. I wish you many years of enjoyment with your new property!
Joan Harned is an owner-broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 or http://www.skiandteehomes.com.