The Commonwealth Blog

Monday, October 9, 2017

Doing a Final Walk-Through: What to Expect

You’ve found your new home, the seller has accepted your offer, you’ve conducted a home inspection, and the closing date is approaching fast. Before you close, there’s just one major milestone left: the final walk-through.

The final walk-through may seem like just another item you have to check off your home-buying to-do list, but it’s far more than just a formality. Some buyers might think that it’s unnecessary since their home inspection should have uncovered any issues, but it’s important to make sure nothing has gone wrong between the inspection and closing. This is especially valuable if the seller has already moved out and the house has been sitting vacant.

The goal of the walk-through is to ensure that the home’s condition hasn’t changed since you last visited and that the seller has completed any repairs they agreed upon in the contract. If you breeze through the final walk-through or skip it altogether, you may find yourself tackling some unexpected repairs in your first days as a new homeowner.

Now that you know why a final walk-through is essential, let’s look at what you can expect from yours:

You Should Have Your Contract Handy

You may need to refer to your contract while you’re doing your walk-through. For example, if you and the seller agreed on a set of repair contingencies, you’ll want to check the contract to make sure all those contingencies have been met. If the seller stated in the contract that they would leave certain items (such as a washer/dryer set) with the house, you should confirm those items are still in place. Conversely, if the seller has left behind items that weren’t covered in the contract (such as old paint cans or bookshelves), you’ll need to let them know that it’s their responsibility to remove them.

Be Thorough

You may want to write a checklist so that you don’t forget anything. Things you’ll want to do during the walk-through include:

  • Inspecting the roof and siding for storm damage
  • Looking for visible damage to the ceilings, walls, or floors
  • Testing all appliances
  • Testing the flush function on the toilets
  • Turning on the heating and cooling systems for a few minutes each
  • Running faucets and checking for leaks
  • Opening and closing windows and doors to make sure they don’t stick
  • Testing the outlets by plugging in your phone charger
  • Making sure all storage areas have been cleared out
  • Checking on repairs to make sure they’ve been completed to the specifications in the contract

Keep in mind that the above isn’t a full list of final walk-through items. Your Realtor may have additional recommendations.

If You Uncover Issues, Decide What You’re Willing to Tackle

If you discover an issue over the course of the final walk-through, ask yourself if it’s worth moving back the closing date to have the seller handle it or if you’d rather just resolve it yourself. For example, if you notice a couple of burnt-out light bulbs, you may opt to replace them yourself for the sake of settling on time.

However, if you uncover something big that didn’t come up during the home inspection, you may save yourself a lot of time, money, and frustration by getting the seller to address it. You and your Realtor will need to negotiate a fair solution with the buyer and their Realtor. If the seller is in a hurry to close, you may even be able to negotiate a lower sale price to compensate for the repairs you’ll have to make.

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