What To Expect At Your Final Walk-Through

Hanna KielarJuly 17, 2019

A final walk-through is one of the last steps you have to complete when purchasing a home. You’ve tackled a mountain of tasks to get here, and you’re approaching the finish line.

You may be wondering why you need to complete a final walk-through before closing. Here, we outline the reasons you should exercise this option. We also provide a list of things you should be on the lookout for when you view the property a final time before it belongs to you.

If you’re looking for a final walk-through checklist, we’ve got you covered there, too. Keep reading to learn more.

Why Should You Do A Final Walk-Through?

A final walk-through is important for a couple of reasons. First, it gives home buyers the opportunity to ensure the condition of the home hasn’t changed. Another reason is to review any home repairs completed after the home inspection. As a home buyer, you’ll need to ensure all repairs are up to your standard. You may also want to do another home inspection for some types of repairs.

Kelly Lauderbaugh, CEO and REALTOR® at Metropolitan Real Estate Group, states, “The final walk-through is just as important as writing the offer and the inspection. You are ensuring that the property has been kept in the same condition as when you wrote the offer and completed your inspection.”

What Happens At A Final Walk-Through

In some circumstances, sellers won’t move out of the home until closing or a few days after. If this is the case for your situation, you’ll want to complete a final walk-through while the sellers are present. Since the sellers know all the quirks of the home, they can answer any questions you may have.

When no one is living in the home and it’s been vacant for a long period of time, problems can arise. For example, flooding may occur when disconnecting the refrigerator or washing machine. This may go unnoticed in the absence of the seller. That’s why it’s important to look over every inch of the home. If you don’t complete a final walk-through, you could end up absorbing the extra cost of incidents like this.

What Should You Bring To A Final Walk-Through?

You will want to bring your real estate agent along with you. You shouldn’t complete the walk-through without the company of a professional who understands the process. The buyer’s agent will follow up with the seller’s agent about any post-inspection repairs or changes. Having a real estate professional by your side makes the process smoother and will help put your mind at ease.

You will also need to gather a few documents in advance. Be sure to bring the contract, the inspection report and your checklist. You should also bring a phone with a camera to take any photos or videos. Finally, you’ll want a pen, a notepad and something with a plug to test the electrical outlets.

Final Walk-Through Checklist

Now that you know how to prepare, you’re ready to complete your final walk-through. Here’s a final walk-through checklist:

Check Household Items Included In The Purchase Of Your Home

When you signed your contract, there may have been a few items you asked to keep in the home. You want to ensure they are there and available for your use. Make sure you keep a list of the items you requested on hand.

Inspect All Repairs

There’s no such thing as a perfect home. That’s why you complete a home inspection– to identify the repairs your new home needs before you move in. Once the inspection is complete, you’ll have a list of items that require repair or replacing by the seller. If the seller has agreed to do the repairs, you’ll need to inspect the work afterward.

Check Plumbing Fixtures And Bathrooms

Make sure your plumbing fixtures and bathrooms are functioning. Many home buyers become blinded by the wonderful features of their new abode, causing them to forget to flush the toilets or run the bathtub. During the final walk-through, ensure all fixtures are in the condition you expected them to be in. This is also a great time to test the garbage disposal, ceiling fans, heating and air conditioning, lights, electrical outlets, windows and anything else you can think of. Your real estate agent can help ensure you check everything before leaving the home.

Compare The Condition Of The Home With The Condition On Your Last Visit

Do you notice any changes to the condition of the home? Is there something that wasn’t addressed that needs to be? If there’s something you have a question about, your agent can contact the seller’s agent for answers. The home should be in the same or better condition than the last time you visited.

Ask For Warranties From The Seller

If you don’t find a folder of warranties left by the seller, this is something you should request right away. If the seller bought any appliances, they should have a warranty. You’ll want to have the warranties in your possession in case something breaks and needs repair.

Request Utility Information

If you haven’t done so already, you’ll want to request all utility information for your new home. No one wants to move into a home without heat or water. Schedule a date to turn on your new services or to transfer the home’s utilities to your name. Also make sure the former owner forwards their mail to their new address.

Inspect The Exterior Of Your Home

Be sure to walk around the outside of your new home. Check for any damage you weren’t aware of or address any concerns you may have.

Observe Signs Of Pest Problems

Lastly, check for pest damage in and around your home. If you live in an area that’s prone to pests, you may want to hire a pest control service to evaluate your home.

What A Final Walk-Through Is Not

It’s important to note that a final walk-through is not a home inspection. It’s only an opportunity to make sure everything you requested is complete. But there are instances where you may need to complete an additional home inspection once repairs are complete to ensure the repairs are up to code.

Buying a home is likely one of the largest purchases you will ever make. You don’t want to leave anything up to chance. Even though you may have to pay for the extra inspection, it may be worth its weight in gold if there are additional repairs.

Lauderbaughadds, “If there is something missing or not fulfilled, then you (or your agent) should definitely contact the sellers and work things out before you close as you will have very little leverage at that point.”

The Bottom Line

Your final walk-through isn’t something you should pass on the opportunity to complete. This is your chance to make sure you know exactly what you’re purchasing. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be. Speak with your real estate agent to ensure you have everything you need in advance.

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Hanna Kielar

Hanna Kielar is an Associate Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage focused on personal finance, recruiting and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.