Don’t go to close before doing this, or you will really regret it!
There is one thing that most people don’t do that can cost you dearly before sitting down to sign the closing document. Learn from my bad experience.
You had the house inspected. Check. You calculated the amount you will need for the repairs. Check. You file all of your paperwork with the title company and the mortgage company. Check. All ready to sign the closing papers? Wrong!
What else is left to do? You should inspect the house one more time immediately before going to closing.
What happened to me
In July 2008, I made an offer on an investment house that I thought would make a good rental property. I negotiated a deal with the seller in which she would pay part of the closing costs. I hired a capable home inspector, who wrote a good property report. The closing was delayed a week because the lender asked me for more documentation. During that week, I did not go back into the house, although I did take a few steps to keep an eye on it.
After signing the papers on July 18, I immediately went to the house to start some repair work. Upon opening the door, I was overwhelmed by a powerful musty / musty smell. The carpet was wet and I heard the splash as I crossed the living room to the sink. I saw that the hot water was leaking and had flooded the house.
Leaky hot water heater creates a greenhouse environment
What’s worse, with the windows and doors closed, the hot water had created a humid greenhouse environment that was perfect for mold growth. And looking around, I could see mold on almost every wall, from top to bottom.
After a futile effort to try to clean up the mess, I called the agent representing me and the seller. She came to the house and immediately contacted the title company and the lender to stop the deal. I was lucky that the closing took place on Friday afternoon because the documentation would not be filed until Monday morning. The deal was stopped and I got my entire advance and down payment back, except for the cost of the home appraisal and inspection.
A hard lesson learned
If you had done the final inspection before going to closing, you could have saved a lot of time and effort.
I’ve been through a lot of closings and never did a final run before closing. But from now on, I will never fail to do so.
As an epilogue, when I went on vacation to Mexico after this episode ended, I made it a point to turn off the gas and water to the water heater at my personal residence.
I think I have learned my lesson.