After the seller has accepted your offer, a licensed inspection of the home as been completed, your loan is being finalized, and you can see the finish line — there is still one more (often forgotten) step in your homebuying journey. Have complete confidence in your purchase and ensure that your sale closes on time by taking a final walkthrough of the home. Ask your real estate agent to accompany you, and download a checklist here to use as a guide.
Why a Final Walkthrough is Important
Home buying is a major purchase, and you want to feel secure. Visiting the property prior to closing gives you a chance to review the home’s condition and confirm that all requested repairs have been performed. Even though an inspection has already been completed by a licensed professional, the home’s condition can still change. This is especially true for homes that are currently vacant. Passing storms, and leaky faucets, for example, may result in damage to the home that neither the buying or selling party is aware of.
Furthermore, remember that inspections focus on the safety and compliance of the home per legal standards, and don’t routinely investigate some of the other terms that your contract may include.
What to Look For
This is an opportunity to browse all aspects of the property in detail. Consider anything you may have discussed with the selling party beforehand, and what expectations you may have about the home and its condition.
- Left Behind Fixtures – If you are expecting any fixtures to be left behind by the seller, such as chandeliers or mirrors, ensure that they are still in place during the walkthrough. Likewise, take note of furnishings that you had not expected to be left behind, and how costly they may be to remove from the home yourself.
- Outlets and Switches – Bring a small item with you such as a cell phone charger, and verify that all outlets are working. While you are patrolling each room, make sure that all of the light switches you find are functional.
- Repairs and Maintenance – Look for the final product of any repairs that the seller has promised to be completed before closing.
- Major appliances – Check stoves, ovens, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and laundry machines along with any other major appliance that are staying behind to confirm they are operational.
- Security – Make sure that all windows and doors correctly latch and lock. If the home has a security system, test it out.
- Plumbing – While the inspection should cover this item, it doesn’t hurt to run every faucet and toilet to look for any potential plumbing concerns. This includes sinks, showers and tubs. Along with signs of water damage, take note of any leaking in the plumbing systems.
- Heat and AC – Even if the weather isn’t suitable for testing, it’s important to take a look at the heating and cooling systems for proper function.
- Exterior Damage – Walk around the outside of the home to see if there is any damage to the exterior that has not been discussed with the selling party, such as in the paint or foundation itself. Peruse the walkways and landscaping for any potential drainage issues.
- Garage Door Openers – If the home has a garage, make sure that you have proper access to it. Use the garage door openers to test the door function.
- Signs of Pests – Avoid having any unwanted visitors by scouring the home for signs of pests. Take note of dry rot, strange smells, noises, leavings and any other damage that may indicate a pest was present.
Download a handy checklist of the above here.
When to Complete a Final Walkthrough
As a general guideline, final walkthroughs should be conducted about a week before closing. This is close enough to the closing that not much should change before the closing date, and gives the selling party ample time to address any concerns that arise.
Take your time conducting a thorough walkthrough of the home so that you can comfortably accept the keys on closing day. If you have questions about how to prepare for closing, please contact Hailey Munns.