FINAL WALKTHROUGH: Checklist and Guide

Final walkthrough

Closing on a new house is an exciting process. After months of looking, touring, and making offers, you’re finally nearing the end of the process. The final walk-through is one of the last stages before the house is officially yours.
If this is your first time purchasing a property, you may be wondering how a final walkthrough works or what to expect during a walkthrough. We’ll break it all down in this post to make sure you’re ready for the final leg of the home-buying process.

What is a Final Walkthrough?

For those who are unfamiliar, the final walkthrough before closing on a house is one of the final procedures in purchasing a home. The final walkthrough is often conducted after the seller has moved out and allows the buyer to ensure that all agreed-upon repairs have been made and that there are no additional issues.

The final walkthrough essentially allows property purchasers to double-check everything. This is to ensure that the house they’re buying is in the same condition it was when they agreed to buy it, plus any additional repairs mentioned in the purchase agreement, and that nothing has been removed that shouldn’t have been, such as light fixtures or faucets.

When Is the Final Walkthrough?

Final walkthroughs are normally scheduled as close to closing day as possible. During the walkthrough, a buyer and their real estate agent will inspect the home. They’ll make sure there’s no new damage, that all of the home’s systems and appliances are still operational, and that the house is clean.

If the seller has been gone for a long, they will be on the watch for anything that could have gone wrong in the time since the property was deserted.

Participating in a final walkthrough as a buyer is critical. Not only are you about to make a large purchase, but you will also be legally and financially responsible for this property. Foregoing a final walkthrough could result in you unknowingly incurring a large financial burden, having to pay for a repair you’d already agreed to cover with the seller or worse.

Who Attends a Final Walkthrough?

In most circumstances, only the buyer and their real estate agent attend the final walkthrough. The real estate agent is there to guide them through the process. An agent may have a better notion of what the buyers should look for during the walkthrough. If something is amiss with the house, the realtor can guide the buyer through the next steps.

The walkthrough is normally done after the seller has moved out. If the seller hasn’t completely moved out yet, they may be there for the walkthrough. In this instance, the seller’s real estate agent is likely to attend as well.

What Should You Bring to the Final Walkthrough?

Want to be ready for anything? Please bring the following items:

#1. A purchase agreement for a house

This legally binding contract outlines the terms agreed upon by the seller and buyer. It covers everything from the appliances included in the purchase to repairs that should be completed before the final walkthrough.

#2. Home inspection report

This report contains the findings of the house inspection. You can use it to go through the faults raised by the inspector and ensure that the seller has completed the necessary repairs.

#3. Pen, paper, and sticky notes

These are useful for making notes and marking any areas of the house that require additional attention, such as drywall or mold.

#4. Camera

Take images of everything that bothers you in and around the house.

#5. Something to test

A nightlight or phone charger is handy for examining electrical outlets, especially if the seller promised to repair specific ones throughout the house.

Final Walkthrough Checklist

The final walkthrough is the buyer’s opportunity to ensure that the home is in good shape and that there are no outstanding issues that the seller failed to address. Once the closing occurs and the buyer moves into the home, it is usually too late to address any issues. As a result, the buyer must be thorough.

Here’s a checklist of items to keep an eye out for during the final walkthrough.

#1. Inspection Repairs

When you made an offer on your house, you may have included an inspection contingency or a few requests for repairs. Did the seller agree to make repairs before closing? The final walkthrough is your last chance to confirm that the seller completed all necessary repairs – or that no additional, obvious repairs are required. This is the last chance to check that the repairs are up to your requirements and include quality work.

Bring a copy of your inspection summary as well as your final, accepted offer letter, and follow up on every repair the seller agrees to. Don’t just take the seller’s word for it; inspect everything for yourself. For example, the seller may have agreed to repair one of the light switches in the dining room. Turn on the light and make sure it stays turned on. Does your purchase agreement include new faucets? If so, make sure they’re present and put them through their paces.

Request warranties or repair invoices for all work performed on the home by the seller. Know who to call if something breaks again after you move in. This can save you money because most home repair companies offer limited-time warranties that include free fixes. Then, cross inspection fixes off your list.

#2. Belongings Moved In Or Out

Before closing, check sure the seller has totally moved out of the house. This is advantageous to you as a buyer for two reasons. For starters, strolling through an empty house makes it much simpler to discover new faults that may have happened while the seller was moving out, as well as repairs that were not performed as agreed. Second, knowing that the homeowner has completely moved out saves you the hassle of cleaning up someone else’s belongings.

Examine each room for any items left behind by the vendor. Check for leftover toys and lawn equipment as well. Don’t forget to check all of the closets, the attic, the basement, and any garages or sheds. Close off each room as you check in to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Examine the seller’s acceptance letter for everything they promised to leave behind. Examine your contract for appliances, fixtures, and other goods. Contact the seller before closing if you realize they left something behind that they shouldn’t have, or they took something they agreed to leave.

#3. Locks and Windows

Before closing, ensure that your home is completely safe. Here are some things to include on your checklist:

  • Do all windows and doors lock and unlock properly?
  • Do all the windows open easily?
  • Do any windows or doors stick (which can be a major hazard in the event of a fire or other emergency)?
  • Are there any holes, tears, or flaws in the window screens? Are any missing?
  • Do window screens come out easily?

Additionally, your property may be outfitted with an alarm system that alerts you when a window or external door is left open. Arm your alarm and test the sensors on all of your doors and windows.

#4. Appliances

Confirm that all of the appliances in the housework are as they should be. Here are some critical tests to execute during your walkthrough:

  • Check that your oven heats up without smelling like gas.
  • Run the dishwasher through its full cycle. To ensure that it comes out clean and undamaged, throw in a dirty dish.
  • Turn the washing machine and dryer on and off.
  • Run water through all of the drains to ensure that they drain properly and do not clog.
  • Check for any unusual odors coming from the running water.
  • If your home has a garbage disposal, use it.
  • Open and close the garage door. Make sure it only opens and shuts when you use the correct key or code.
  • Use your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in both heating and air-conditioning modes. Make sure the house heats up or cools down in a fair length of time.
  • If your home has a security system, you can arm and deactivate it. Confirm that only the right code or key may activate the system.
  • Flush each and every toilet to ensure proper operation. Check that the water shutdown valves around the base of the toilets function as well.
  • Run the water in your showers and sinks. Check that the water gets hot and cold in a fair period of time, that the water pressure in the shower is enough, and that your bathtub holds water when you stop the drain.

Making sure all of your appliances operate before closing might save you money on repair fees thereafter. Are you buying the home as-is? Make a list of everything that needs to be replaced or fixed. This will make it easier to repair your home afterward.

#5. Mold

Purchasing a mold-infested home can cause a huge and costly problem even between the time the homeowner moves out and the time you move in. It can rise up in as little as a few days, so carefully inspect wet places like the bathroom and kitchen. Here are some checklist items for you:

  • Pay specific attention to the toilet bases and the drains in your bathtub or shower.
  • Open your sink cabinets and look for mold around your sinks.
  • Inspect the refrigerator and sink bases.
  • Check the bottom of your dishwasher and any kitchen doors that lead outside.

#6. Power And Outlets

Most electrical systems operate on a current, which means that if even one outlet in the home isn’t working, you could quickly experience problems with other outlets. Walk around the home with your phone charger, plugging it into every socket in every room. You don’t need to wait to see if the outlet charges your phone; only ensure that your charger registers the outlet as soon as you plug it in. You can also buy a multimeter to test each outlet.

Next, inspect the plate covers on the electrical switches. Check that the plates appear secure and free of damage. Confirm that the home’s light fixtures, doorbells, and garage door openers all operate properly.

#7. Backyard And Outdoors

Inspect the property’s exterior as thoroughly as the interior. Take a stroll around the lawn or backyard to ensure that the landscaping is in good condition. When leaving their property, some sellers dig up bushes, plants, and even small trees. Take a walk around the house’s gate, both inside and outside. Check that the gate latches and unlatches easily.

Is there a pool at the house? Inspect the pool for mold, mildew, and lining deterioration. Examine and test the pool gate. Make a note of any fence deterioration, holes, or wood decay.
Next, examine the home’s irrigation system, if it has one. Turn the water on and off, and take note of any sprinklers that aren’t working. Inspect the interior and outside of any sheds. Confirm that the homeowner has not left any dangerous chemicals or instruments lying around.

A full outdoor walkthrough also allows you to make note of any exterior modifications you might want to make once the home is legally yours. These prospective improvements will not be relevant to the inspection, of course, but it can be fascinating to imagine what your backyard will look like one day.

#8. Pests

Even if a home is completely clean during an inspection, pests can come in after the seller leaves. Keep a look out for termites, rodents, and ants, especially if the homeowner leaves rubbish behind.

Look for mouse droppings, bite marks on wood, and other indicators of unwelcome rodents. Termites can leave dry rot, spongy floors, and timber walls covered in small pinholes. Don’t forget to inspect the chimney; birds and raccoons frequently create their homes within chimneys after a home has been unoccupied for even a short period of time.

What To Do If You Discover Problems During The Final Walkthrough

In an ideal world, buyers would always go through the final walkthrough and find the home in excellent shape, with the seller having repaired everything they said they would. While the final walkthrough is usually uneventful, buyers may discover issues.
If you discover problems, you have a few options, and the one you choose will most likely be determined by the severity of the problems. Here are several examples:

  • Ask the seller to rectify a minor problem before the closing.
  • Delay the closing so the seller has time to rectify the situation.
  • Set aside money from the seller’s earnings in an escrow account to pay for the repairs after the closing.
  • In severe cases when there is major damage to the home or a costly fix that the seller refuses to repair, you may have to walk away from the sale or take legal action.

Can I Back Out If I Discover An Issue During The Final Walkthrough?

If problems are discovered during the final walkthrough, it is the seller’s responsibility to collaborate with the buyer to find a remedy that fits the purchase contract. While buyers can back out if they discover that the home does not meet the requirements set in the purchase agreement and will normally be refunded their earnest money, doing so should be done as a last resort – nobody benefits if you back out of closing as this phase. There are alternatives to keep the sale on track.

#1. Postpone the closing

If the seller has left a property that has been damaged, is in an unacceptable state, or has missing fixtures or appliances, you may have to request a delay in closing while the seller performs the repairs required to bring the home up to the standards established in the purchase agreement.
Your agent or attorney will manage the communications required to postpone the closing.

#2. Renegotiate the Contract

If the seller no longer lives nearby or refuses to make repairs, you can ask to rewrite the contract such that the seller pays the buyer to fix the problem, with the payment coming out of the seller’s sale proceeds.

#3. Set Up An Escrow Holdback

If the seller refuses to make the repairs or pay for the buyer to make them, keeping some of the seller’s proceeds in an escrow account to cover the costs of repairing the problem may be the solution. This solution, known as an escrow holdback, entails holding a sum of money – the cost of repairs plus a premium to incentivize the seller to deal with the problem – that will be returned to the buyer if the seller still does not make the seller pay in full.

How Long Does a Final Walkthrough Take?

A final walkthrough might take anything from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the size of the home and the faults you find. Remember that this is one of the most essential purchases you’ll ever make, so don’t speed through the walkthrough.


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