Final Walkthrough lessons from a Philadelphia Realtor

I have been selling Center City Philadelphia Real Estate for more years than most tress around here have been growing leaves. I have seen a lot happen, so there are very few things that will surprise me. Most buyers though, will tend to be surprised or even disappointed by the condition of their new Old City Loft or Rittenhouse Square Condo when they do their final walkthrough. Pennsylvania contracts for real estate generally say that the parcel needs to be in broom-swept clean condition, normal wear and tear accepted.

And just what would be the boundaries to describe such conditions? I once did a walk-though with a buyer, in which the home had been professionally cleaned, and there were instructions on the keys, the mail, and the neighbors. There was even a bottle of Champagne in the refrigerator from the seller to the new buyer. Now that was one smart seller.leaving a good taste in the mouth of a buyer, whom after today, they will probably never see again. Good Job! There are times when sellers show no common courtesy and break the terms of the contract by leaving old boxes and trash around and ugly wire hanging in the closets like the new buyer would want to use them or something. Or accidentally forget to leave the washer and dryer.

Oh, and forget about the no mailbox key, alarm, or instructions for priming the water pressure thingy in the basement. Goodie for the new buyer, eh? On the other hand, I once had a buyer and his very irate realtor call me, as they were walking through one of my listings for the last time, prior to heading over to the settlement table, and the house was a wreck. Two small piles of dust that had not been collected into a dust pan! And this buyer was really upset. Perhaps the buyer had bigger issues, and this was their way of venting.

I did remember giving these buyers my best "I hate you looks" from the other side of the settlement table though. Then I felt bad about it. Most of us well-mannered human beings will leave the home in good condition (better than just broom-swept) because we would like to leave our old condo or townhouse with good feelings about it.

Do you remember how excited you were when you first bought this place? And you spent the day setting things up, arranging and rearranging furniture, and you ordered pizza or Chinese, or perhaps brought home a bottle of wine that night (or a bottle of Jim Beam.whatever, I am not here to judge). And if you are a buyer, perhaps you could exercise a bit of forgiveness. Contractually, the seller never promised you a rose garden. And plan on a parental figure making snide comments as we do our walk-though about the place not being clean enough for you to inhabit.

And though you may have to have the place professionally cleaned prior to you moving in (plan on it), remember it is your new home, a place for you to grow into and grow with, and yes, that grime around the bathtub was there when you did the home inspection, remember? I think it is most important to remember, when doing your final walk-through inspection prior to settlement is that there is no such thing as perfection. Especially coming from a disinterested third party. (Writers note: perfection may be found in a Denny's Grand Slam breakfast at 1am on say, a given Saturday night). So enjoy the new house or condominium, and know that with your enthusiasm, and a bit of elbow grease, that new Philadelphia condo will be looking gorgeous again before you know it!.

Mark Wade is a Realtor who has lived & worked in Center City Philadelphia for 19 years. He prides himself of his vast knowledge of what's trendy & knows which finishes buyers look for when selecting a home. He's been seen on HGTV's What You Get For The Money, CN-8's Money Matters and was the 2005 winner of Philadelphia Magazine's Kitchen of the Year contest. You can learn more by visiting his website at

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