As you go through your real estate investing you may feel that a final walk-through of your new purchase may not be necessary. If you are buying a flip house that you have been in a couple of times and you know it is empty, there is a temptation to skip the final walk-through.
Do not skip the walk-through. Be sure you or someone who works with you does a walk-through. You may think that there is no sense to this because you are buying the place as is, you know it needs lots of work and you know it was trashed. After all, that is why you got such a good deal on it, right? That is true, but I will explain to you why this is important and what happened to me once when I decided to forego the chance to see the place a couple of hours before I closed on the deal.
I went to my closing, knowing the owner had moved out weeks before. The house needed quite a bit of work. The person living there had not cleaned the place for months, if not longer. The owner was also a hoarder. I really didn’t feel up to going through that place again. At the end of the closing I was told that the key had been left on a kitchen counter. So, I guess that meant that the house had been unlocked for weeks.
I decided to go to the house immediately after the transaction had taken place to revisit what I needed to do to get started and to lock up. When I got there all the doors and windows were locked. I figured the guy had locked the key inside, so I was trying to decide how to get into the house without causing unnecessary damage. I had already tried the front and back door, and as I stood there thinking about my dilemma, a woman came to the front door! What?!!
In a matter of weeks, having an unlocked vacant house, I had inherited a squatter! I wasn’t sure she knew how hard or how easy it would be for me to get her to leave. I have a real problem being mean, but after all, this was my business. I advised her that she could not stay, and somehow I convinced her to leave, at least for a while. I immediately changed all of the locks. When I had another conversation with her I told her that she had until the next afternoon to come and pick up her belongings. If she wasn’t there by the drop-dead time I gave her, I would put everything on the curb. I had a tough time with this, but it was a result of my own doing.
I was fortunate that she did not press the issue of leaving, and she did show up to get her belongings. If she had given me a hard time, it may have been weeks or more to get her out of that house. If you do what I did, you may not be quite so lucky. Do your final walk-through. This will give you a chance to hold up the closing if you find an issue that had not been noticeable earlier, or if you find what I did, a squatter.