Buying a home is no easy feat. After jumping through hoops to apply for mortgages, find the ideal property, make an offer, and pay for a home inspection, there is one final step to take — the final walkthrough. During the final walkthrough, you and your agent walk through the home and ensure that the property is in the same condition as when you first agreed to buy.
While the final walkthrough is technically optional for the buyer to attend, missing out could mean inadvertently taking on a significant financial burden. The final walkthrough is the time to make sure that any repairs stipulated in the purchase agreement actually happened. It is also the last chance to pinpoint any issues that might detract from the home’s value.
So, long story short—don’t skip the final walkthrough. After closing day, there’s no going back on your real estate transaction … and you don’t want to be stuck with a lemon. Here’s a checklist to have on hand during the final walkthrough.
Final Walkthrough Checklist
When inside of the home:
- Count and test all the light fixtures and outlets.
- Turn on all the faucets. Make sure there are no drips. Watch the drains to make sure they are draining well, and the pipes are free from leaks. Don’t forget to test out the hot water as well.
- Check all surfaces for water damage or mold. Be especially mindful of this when walking through the kitchen, bathroom, basement, and attic.
- Make sure that all the doors and windows open easily, seal properly, and lock.
- Turn on and test out all the major appliances. The fridge should be nice and cold, and the washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, and stove should all be functioning as described.
- Ensure that any fixtures included with the home, like window treatments, are still there.
- Flush all the toilets. Make sure they drain properly, and the pump shuts off afterward.
- Make sure that there is no damage to the floors, walls, or ceilings.
- Test out all the exhaust fans as well as garbage disposal units if applicable.
- Make sure that the seller has removed all of their personal property (if they have already vacated the home).
- Ensure that all thermostats are responsive and that HVAC units are all in good working order.
- Make sure that everything is reasonably clean.
When outside of the home:
- Test the garage door. Be sure remotes are all in good working order as well.
- Ensure that the outside of the property is neat and tidy and there is no excess debris kicking around.
- Watch out for pest or rodent damage.
- Make sure that all yard fixtures, including storage sheds, mailboxes, decks, and landscaping features, are all still in place and in good repair.
Some final things to note
Ideally, a final walkthrough will take place as close to the agreed-upon closing date as possible. As such, there is a good chance the homeowners might have already vacated the property. If they are still around, though, don’t miss out on the opportunity to ask some questions.
For example, ask the owners if there are any quirks that you should know about or if there are any types of repairs or upgrades that they would have liked to get a chance to make. The previous homeowners know the property better than anybody, so their insight can be particularly valuable.
If the home has been sitting vacant for a while, a final walkthrough is crucial. Uninhabited properties are especially vulnerable to water and mold damage, pest problems, and other problems that could result in hefty repair bills.
When scheduling the final walkthrough, make sure that your real estate agent can be there too. Realtors do this for a living, and having a pro around to guide the process can make all the difference.