One of the last steps in the home-buying process is the final walkthrough. Right before the close of a sale is a busy time, so home buyers might be tempted to skip this important step, but they shouldn’t!
As the name implies, the final walkthrough is the home buyer’s last chance to walk through the home before the sale is final. This is the last chance to confirm that everything is working as it should and any necessary repairs have been made. This process is not intended to redo a home inspection or find new issues. It is to confirm that everything is in the expected and agreed-upon condition, as detailed in the purchase agreement.
The final walkthrough usually happens a day or two before the closing day. This often ensures that the sellers have moved out and the home is empty. If this is the case, the seller should have left the utilities on and the home should be move-in ready.
How long the final walkthrough will depend on the type and size of property you are buying. For the average single-family home, plan to spend at least a couple of hours walking through the home.
What Should You Bring to the Final Walkthrough?
- Your real estate agent. Make sure your agent is with you for the final walkthrough. They understand home buying and selling and can guide you through the process.
- The purchase agreement details the specifics of what is included in the sale. This document will list any appliances or other items that are part of the purchase as well as any repairs the seller has agreed to make.
- Your home inspection report.
- Your phone charger or a device to check electrical outlets.
What to Look for During the Final Walkthrough
- Confirm that any needed repairs were made.
Often times the home inspection will uncover problems that should be addressed before the sale is complete. If you requested that the seller fix any items, and they agreed, these repairs or replacements should be completed before the final walkthrough.
- Make sure everything you expect is still there.
In general, anything that is bolted, mounted, or nailed down is considered part of the house and should be present. Often the seller will agree to leave items such as kitchen appliances, window treatments/coverings, or furniture. These items should be detailed in the purchase agreement.
- Check doors and windows.
Open and close all the doors and windows to make sure they work properly and latches, locks, or deadbolts work as expected. If any screens are missing you will want to make note of that.
- Check the plumbing fixtures.
As you walk through the bathrooms be sure to flush the toilets and check all of the bathroom faucets (including the shower head) and the kitchen sink faucet and be sure to observe water pressure flowing from each faucet. Confirm hot water works in all faucets, and that sinks and tubs drain as expected.
- Test the electrical.
As you move through the house, test the electrical switches and outlets. You can use your phone charger or your real estate agent may have an outlet tester. Also check doorbells, the garage door, and any security system.
- Test the heating and air conditioning.
No matter the actual temperature on the day of your walkthrough, make sure to check the heating and air conditioning systems to confirm they are in working order.
- Test any appliances.
If the seller agreed to leave appliances, make sure to test them all. Confirm the garbage disposal works and that the oven heats and burners operate correctly. Run the dishwasher through a cycle. Run the washer and dryer. Ditto for any other appliances that are included with the home purchase.
- Walk around the outside.
Check outside hose bibs for water and the irrigation system for water and power (if necessary). Again, make sure everything is working as expected. Check sheds or storage buildings to make sure there are no unwanted items that have been left behind.
Depending on the purchase agreement, the seller typically waits until closing to hand over certain items like community pool, clubhouse, or mail keys as well as remotes, manuals, and warranties. If any of the appliances or systems are still under warranty, the seller can also provide those, and any user guides or manuals.
Being prepared and willing to spend a little time on the final walkthrough is definitely a worthwhile investment of your time. You don’t want to move in only to discover a sudden plumbing problem, a non-working appliance, or another issue that could have been discovered before closing.
Sometimes, however, things do break when you least expect or can afford to fix them. This is where a home warranty can help both homebuyers and sellers. If a covered appliance or home system breaks during closing or after the sale, a home warranty can help take care of the hassle and protect everyone’s budget. Talk to your real estate agent about how a home warranty can help.