Navigating Surprises

Carole Smith

The grand finale of the home-buying process, the closing day, is a crescendo of excitement and anticipation. Yet, amidst the flurry of final checks, the walk-through can sometimes reveal unexpected hiccups that weve witnessed often in the Miami real estate market. Let's unravel the potential surprises that can pop up during this pivotal moment and how to address them gracefully.

1. Personal Property Left Behind or Missing:

   - Surprise: The sellers might have inadvertently left behind furniture, clutter in the garage, or they actually took the elegant chandelier you loved!  

   - Navigate: The Florida Standard As-Is contract calls for the seller to remove all personal items and trash from the property. The contract also clearly defines what items remain with the house, describing what specific personal property is included and excluded. Make sure your realtor is communicating with the other side in advance of the walk through, confirming any of these items.

2. Unfixed Repairs:

   - Surprise: Remember that leaky faucet the seller agreed to fix? Sometimes, these repairs are overlooked or incompletely addressed.

   - Navigate: Review your repair addendum. If unmet, discuss holding a portion of the escrow funds until the promised repairs are satisfactorily completed. Alternatively, agree to accept a credit from the seller to do the repairs yourself after closing. 

3. New Damages:

   - Surprise: Moving out can sometimes result in unintentional damages—scratched floors from moving furniture or damaged walls.

   - Navigate: If you find new damages, calculate repair costs and request either a repair or a credit to cover the necessary fixes. A repair could delay closing, so often a credit is the swiftest remedy. 

4. Delayed Move-Out:

   - Surprise: The seller hasnt fully moved out by the time of your walk-through.

   - Navigate: Address this well in advance, as this will cause a delay in closing date. If it arises, discuss the soonest possible move-out time, and execute an addendum changing the closing date. As a buyer, you do not want to close on the home, until the seller is officially out of the house. 

5. Unsettled Home Feelings:

   - Surprise: The now-empty home feels different, making you second-guess your choice.

   - Navigate: Remember, all homes feel different without their lived-in charm. Trust your initial feelings and envision how you'll make the space your own.


In the symphony of home-buying, the closing day walk-through is your last rehearsal before the main performance. While unexpected notes might arise, with preparation and poise, you can ensure the final act is harmonious. Preparing and discussing all these potential pitfalls weeks before the actual day, is key to a flawless performance. After all, at the end of this journey, the keys to your dream home await.


Carole and Cristina believe that our homes are an important part of our lives, giving us shelter, security, and a means of self-expression. Separate from the constraints of necessity, many homes are a microcosm for the things we hold most dear — family, memories, relaxation and sense of belonging.

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