With closing only a few short days away, the final walkthrough of a house is an exhilarating experience. This could be the first time you get to see your soon-to-be home empty, giving you an opportunity to imagine how you will build your life inside those four walls.
However, things may not go as planned. While you might find no issues with the home, you may also find problems that will cause plenty of frustration and could delay your closing. Follow the tips below so you can be prepared and make the most of your final walkthrough.
What is a final walkthrough?
This walkthrough is simply a way for the buyer to give the home one last check before finalizing the purchase. It’s scheduled a few days before the closing, and it gives you an opportunity to explore your soon-to-be home with your agent or broker. The final walkthrough also allows you to guarantee the house and property are in the condition agreed upon before completing the purchase. If there were any negotiated repairs or changes to the home, this is the time to check that they’ve been properly completed.
If you find damages or repairs not completed, you’ll be able to negotiate with the seller before closing. The seller may have funds withheld at closing, the closing may get delayed until repairs are complete, or the seller can pre-pay a contractor to complete the repairs after closing. And, worst-case scenario, you may need to back out of the deal.
Items to bring to the walkthrough
To prepare for the walkthrough, it can be helpful to gather a few items that could come in handy. These items will allow you to record any potential issues you find. Always bring:
- A notepad to write down any concerns or questions.
- A camera or phone to document the condition of the home.
- The contract and inspection summary as references.
- A nightlight or phone charger to make sure electrical outlets throughout the home function properly.
During the walkthrough
Once you are at the walkthrough, it is important to do a thorough job checking your soon-to-be home. On average, a walkthrough should take at least 30 minutes to complete. If possible, try to do your walkthrough during daylight hours; this will give you a better view of the home and make any issues easier to spot. You may also need to coordinate with the seller to make sure the utilities remain on for the inspection.
Run through the list below to make sure the house is ready for you to move in.
- Test all appliances included with the house, including the washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and stove. Make sure the fridge is cold.
- Confirm that smoke detectors work.
- Make sure light fixtures are present and functional.
- Confirm that all light switches, dimmers, and fans work.
- Plug a nightlight or phone charger into electrical outlets to confirm they work.
- Open cabinets and closets to make sure the doors and hinges work properly and that they’re empty.
- Check faucets to make sure they turn on and off easily without leaking. Make sure the water gets hot and cold in a reasonable amount of time.
- Ensure that all sinks drain properly.
- Inspect bathtubs, showers, sinks, and toilets for cracks or chips.
- Flush every toilet, and check each base for leaks.
- Test the thermostat. Turn on the heater and air-conditioner, and check to see if warm or cold air comes out of the vents.
- Check windows for cracks or broken glass.
- Open windows completely, and close them to make sure hinges and hardware work.
- Check each window for a screen, and make sure they’re installed tightly. Look for holes or tears in each screen.
- Open and close all doors. Lock and unlock each door.
- Inspect all walls, floors, and ceilings for damage.
- Check for mold or water damage.
- Look for loose-fitting, damaged, or stained carpeting.
- Check for scuff marks on hardwood, linoleum, or tile flooring.
- Make sure the seller has removed all personal property.
- If there is a home security system, arm it and disarm it to confirm it works.
- Check the condition of the roof, siding, downspouts, and gutters.
- Make sure items included in the sale of the house are still there, including landscaping features and sheds.
- Test the doorbell.
- Confirm the mailbox is in good shape.
- Check for signs of animal infestation.
- Confirm all outside faucets work and don’t leak.
- Check to see if the garage doors and remotes work.
- Make sure fences are in good condition.
- Confirm that the seller has removed all personal property.
- If there is a pool, confirm its water systems are functioning. Check for mold, mildew, or holes in the lining.
- If there is a sprinkler system, run it to confirm it is operational.
By heading into your final walkthrough prepared, you’ll be one step closer to turning the house into your new home.