The buying process is coming to a close, and you are one step closer to getting the keys to your new place. However, before it is time to pull up a chair and sign your closing documents, you will need to complete your final walk-through.
It is really easy to get blinded by excitement and fail to notice possible issues or areas of concern during a final walk-through. To help you through the process, read through our final walkthrough checklist for home buyers before you revisit your future property and prepare yourself to take a detailed look around with a critical eye.
What is a Final Walk-Through?
The final walk-through is your last chance to view the property before taking ownership of it. It is your opportunity to verify that everything is as it should be, that all repairs have been completed appropriately, and that no new problems have arisen.
When Should a Final Walk-Through Be Scheduled?
Because of the nature of the final walk-through, you want it to occur as close to closing as possible. That way, you will be viewing the property soon before signing your closing papers, and the condition of the home should not change much from the walk-through to closing.
Final Walk-Through Checklist
What Should I Bring for My Final Walk-Through?
Before stopping by the property, make sure to gather the following items:
- A copy of your inspection report so you can reference it as necessary.
- A copy of the contract detailing the items that should be included in the home (such as appliances) and detailing any work that should have been completed (like a roof replacement).
- A phone or camera to take pictures of any areas of concern.
- A way to take notes—you can do so on your phone or a notepad.
Your Realtor should also be present during your final walk-through. Discuss your meeting beforehand for additional tips and notes on preparation.
What Should I Look For During My Final Walk-Through?
With your contract and inspection report in hand, you will want to check that the property is in the agreed-upon condition and that everything in the contract is accounted for. You can print this final walk-through checklist to make it easier.
- Final repairs: Were there any concerns during your inspection that the seller agreed to fix? If so, now is the time to verify that the work is complete.
- Pest or mold remediation: Check that there are no new signs of mold or pests and that any agreed-upon remediation has been completed.
- Has the seller cleared out their possessions? Has anything been left behind? Have they patched up any holes left by hanging pictures or made other visible repairs?
- Are all items included in the sale present? For example, are all appliances that were previously discussed accounted for?
- Is there any damage visible or are their new areas of concern now that the sellers’ possessions or staging furniture have been removed? Check floors, door jambs, and other areas likely to suffer wear and tear during a move for damage. Make sure to look at areas that were previously hidden behind furniture or beneath rugs.
Test These Items During Your Walk-Through
Mark off all the following items on this final walk-through checklist as you verify they are in working order.
- Windows open, close, and latch
- Doors open, close, and lock
- Showerheads and tub spouts work and are not leaking
- Bathroom sink faucets work and are not leaking (check cabinet under sink as well)
- Toilets work and are not leaking
- Bathroom fans are in working order
- There is no visible mold in the bathroom
- Kitchen sink works and is not leaking (check cabinet under sink as well)
- All included appliances are in working order, and their components are accounted for
- The HVAC system is in working order
- The garbage disposal is in working order
- Ceiling fans work
- All light fixtures are accounted for and in working order
- Garage is emptied (unless the seller has indicated they will leave you items like extra tiles or paint for certain repairs)
- Garage door opens and closes
- Shed or other structures on the property are in good condition and empty
- Pool is clean and in working order
- No signs of pests
In addition, you will want to check that the following items are in the same condition as they were the last time you visited the home or in better condition:
Look for signs of new damage that may have happened during the moving process or from any recent storms. The last thing you want to do is move into your beautiful new home only to discover it has a leak from a small hole on the roof!
What Are the Expectations of the Seller During the Walk Through?
The seller will likely not be present during the final walkthrough. However, if your Realtor would like them to be present, they and their Realtor can be.
In addition to any agreed-upon repairs, the seller must leave the home clean. The floors should appear swept, the carpet vacuumed, and the counters should be wiped down.
What Happens if I Find a Problem During the Final Walk-Through?
You have multiple options if a new issue has been discovered, a repair has not been completed, or an item is missing from the home.
The first option is to delay closing until the issue can be resolved. This will allow the seller to get a qualified contractor to complete the work or install a missing appliance that was to be included as per the contract. It will shift your timeline, so consider whether this truly works for you.
The second option is to renegotiate the contract. For example, if roof repairs were not completed and you do not want to delay closing, you and your Realtor can renegotiate the contract so that the costs of the repairs are credited to the buyers at closing. This will allow you to handle the repairs yourself so you can find a contractor that you trust and who will complete the work to your satisfaction. If appliances are missing or if additional issues were found, a credit at closing will work to account for those issues.
The third option is to call off the sale. This option will likely require that you forfeit your earnest money deposit, so it is generally not recommended.
I hope this final walk-through checklist makes it easier to give your property a thorough once-over and removes some of the stress associated with the last walk-through. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.