Making the Most of the Final Walkthrough

Read Time: 4min

The final walkthrough is the last chance to:

  • Find out if anything is wrong with the home that wasn’t before you placed your bid
  • Confirm the seller completed any promised repairs
  • Make sure everything that’s supposed to be left in the house is

Here are some tips to make sure the walkthrough goes smoothly.

Schedule the Walkthrough Right Before Closing

The final walkthrough should happen as close to closing as possible. If there were major repairs required and included in the contract, you may want to do a walkthrough 5–7 days before closing in case they weren’t done to your satisfaction.

That said, it’s also important to do a final walkthrough the night before, especially if the owners already moved out. Mistakes happen—freezer doors are left open, a window’s left cracked, or a faucet’s left running. These simple things can cause issues you’d want to know about before the house is formally yours.

Create a Checklist Before Viewing the Home

Before you walk through the home, create a checklist. Use your contract as guidance to see what was promised. You should also bring the inspection report with the repairs you requested to be completed highlighted, so you remember to check them.

On your checklist include all the areas you want to check, such as appliances, inside cabinets and closets, underneath sinks, and in basements and crawl spaces. Make your checklist easy to review so you don’t miss anything during your walkthrough.

Make Sure the Power is On

If the sellers are gone from the property already, make sure to ask that the power’s on when you walk through it. You need to be able to see things clearly and test certain areas of the house while you’re there.

Bring Tape and/or Sticky Notes

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re walking through your new home. You may lose track of what you have or haven’t checked—that’s where tape and sticky notes are helpful.

  • As you test outlets, toilets, faucets, or other fixtures, put a piece of tape on each to remind yourself you’ve checked it.
  • If you find things that weren’t repaired or don’t look like they used to, place a sticky note on them with a note to remind yourself what is wrong and/or different.

If there are issues when you walk through the home, bring them up to the seller, your agent, and your attorney to decide what should happen next.

Check All Promised Repairs

If you notice something wasn’t done as promised, let the agent and attorney know right away. If they weren’t done or aren’t done to your specifications, this gives the seller a few days to make things right.

Confirm Promised Items are in the Home

When you signed the purchase contract, the seller listed the items that would or wouldn’t be in the home when they moved. During the walkthrough, have a checklist to make sure the promised items are there. These may include window treatments, appliances, and sometimes certain pieces of furniture or shelving.

Test Appliances, Outlets, Water, and Electric

Check every appliance, outlet, faucet, and light fixture. Bring a night light or phone charger with you to check each outlet. Open appliances, test the stove and oven, and turn on all lights and faucets in each room. Make sure everything works and there aren’t any hazards or new leaks that weren’t detected during the original inspection.

Test the HVAC System

No matter what time of year it is, check the HVAC system. Make sure both the furnace and A/C work. Even if they worked at the time of inspection, they could have had issues or broken in the meantime.

Look for Leaks

Open all the cabinets underneath any sinks to see if there’s any water damage. New leaks can happen between the time you signed the contract and when you close. Look for water spots or pools of water underneath the cabinets. Look at the ceiling, especially in rooms where the bathrooms and/or laundry room are above.

Walk Outside of the Property

Walk around the perimeter of the house. Look closely at any fencing, decks, patios, siding, and landscaping. Did you and the seller discuss anything specific about these areas and items? Confirm promised updates were completed.

Look for Damage from Moving

If the sellers already moved, look for any new damage. Dented walls, ripped flooring, or damaged doors can happen easily if the movers aren’t careful.

Take Your Time

Don’t rush your walkthrough. Allow yourself plenty of time, especially if you’re doing it on the day of your closing. The last thing you want is to feel rushed and miss something important.

Consider Bringing a Specialist

If the home required extensive repairs, it’s worth bringing a contractor or inspector with you to ensure the repairs were done right. If it’s not something an untrained eye can figure out, it’s best to pay someone to check it out for you.

IF THERE ARE ISSUES…

Everyone’s hope is the walkthrough goes smoothly, but here are some options if that’s not the case.

  • Delay the closing until the seller fixes the issues
  • Ask the seller for a concession (credit) for the issues and you handle them yourself
  • Put the value of the necessary repairs into an escrow account for the proceeds of the sale until the seller fixes them or pays to fix them

The final walkthrough is your time to make sure the home is left how it was promised. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it’s a good start to safeguard yourself and finalize owning your new home.


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