Why Do A Final Walkthrough?
The final walkthrough before buying a home is more than a ceremonial observance. It is a vital step in the home buying process. Usually attended by the home buyer and their real estate agent, it is a room-by-room final inspection of the home. A first-time home buyer will surely want their agent present to help them look for anything amiss.
The final walkthrough determines that the home is in the same or better condition as when first viewed and that the seller has taken nothing from the home that should remain. The buyer should also make sure that any repairs due from the seller have been completed to their satisfaction.
It’s important to verify these issues before closing. After papers are signed, the house now belongs to you in its present condition. Finding out about problems later means it’s your responsibility to handle them. So, make sure you are thorough in your final walkthrough.
Your Final Walkthrough Checklist Before Buying a Home
The final walkthrough should not be rushed or based on memory alone. If you took pictures at an earlier viewing of the home, bring them with you and compare them to what you see now. It would also be wise to bring this checklist, or one you create yourself, to use as a guide. There may be many things you want to remember, so making a list will help you with your inspection.
Examine Any Promised Repairs
Keep a list of any repairs the seller promised to make and examine those repairs to see they were completed properly. You should also bring a copy of the home inspection report and check to be sure any repairs or items noted in the report have been handled. Test any newly installed appliances or components.
It’s also a good idea to ask the seller for any repair receipts or warranties for the repairs they made to the home. The warranty covers the repairs and this goes with the home. If something happens soon after closing, it should be covered by the warranty. This can save you time and money.
Review Space for Leftover Belongings
The final walkthrough is much easier in an empty house, so you want all the seller’s belongings to be removed. Note anything left behind and contact the seller about removing it. Also, check that any items the seller agreed to leave behind are still present and in good working condition. Contact the seller if there are discrepancies about any agreement.
Check Appliances and Fixtures
Run every appliance to ensure they are in good working condition. Run water through every faucet and flush every toilet. Look for leaks, drips, or signs of water damage underneath cabinets and sinks. Common things new home buyers may neglect to check include:
- Opening and closing the garage door with any automatic controllers
- Running every setting on the HVAC for a few minutes
- Arming and disarming the security system
- Running the garbage disposal
- Testing the oven
- Testing for smells from the oven or when running water
- Checking water pressure in the shower
- Testing the tub drain
Look underneath all sinks, cabinets, dishwasher refrigerator, and the toilet bases for signs of mold or moisture damage.
Review Security Measures
Open and close every window and door, ensuring they work smoothly. Test every lock. If the home has a security system, arm and disarm it. Open windows and doors while it is armed to check the alarm and each opening’s alarm sensor. Look for holes or tears in window screens and damaged weatherstripping.
Test Electrical Components
Bring your cell phone charger and plug it into every outlet to make sure they work. Make sure all outlet and switch covers appear secure and unbroken. Operate all light fixtures, doorbells, automatic garage openers and other automated features. Make sure you have the codes for any smart systems, security systems, and other programmable devices.
Inspect Outdoor Area & Structures
Your final walkthrough should also pay attention to the outdoor elements of your new property. Check to see that landscaping is still present and well-maintained. Inspect any fences and test the operation of any gates and locks. Be sure to closely inspect swimming pools and equipment, outbuildings, and other structures that are part of the property. Test the irrigation system, if one is present.
Be sure no items are left in storage sheds or outbuildings, particularly dangerous chemicals. This can include pool chemicals (unless the seller agreed to leave you any usable materials), paint, used oil, or old cleaning substances. These should be removed before closing.
Look for Evidence of Pests
Pests of various kinds can move in quickly after the seller moves out, so look for evidence of mice, squirrels, birds, and any bite marks on wood. Signs of termites may now appear after everything has been removed from the home. Check chimneys for birds or squirrels, particularly if the chimney has been unused for some time.
Handling Issues Found During the Walkthrough
Buying a home is a huge undertaking, so you want everything to be as agreed with the seller. Depending on the type of contract you have agreed to, there will be an opportunity for you to request repairs from the seller so that you can move into the home in the condition you would like for it to be in when you buy it. Your agent will walk you through the process and explain the ins and outs of how the contract works, and how to request repairs from the seller. Once agreed, the sellers will be obligated by the contract to follow through on their legal agreement to remedy your concern.
There may be instances where some items cannot be completed prior to closing. There are several options you can utilize to work out an agreement that works for all parties and still close on your new home! Some of these options include:
- Delaying closing to allow time for repairs to be completed
- Holding funds from the seller in an escrow account to cover repairs after closing
- The seller pre-paying the vendor in advance for repairs to be completed when they can be scheduled
The final walk-through is a crucial aspect of the home buying process and allows for you to ensure that all agreed-upon repairs were completed prior to closing on your new home. Take your time during this final walk-through and ensure that everything is complete or that there is a plan in place for any items that were unable to be completed and your agent will help you remedy anything that is outstanding!
Jeff Cook Real Estate is the top Realtor® in the Carolinas and his team can make the home buying process simple and enjoyable. Are you a first time home buyer? Contact Jeff Cook Real Estate today for seasoned assistance through every step of purchasing your new home.