It’s about 24 hours ahead of your real estate closing, and you couldn’t be happier! You will soon hold the keys to that new home in your hands. Before you sling that final box into the back of the moving van, you have an essential last step to take before heading to the closing—a final walk-through of your new home.
You’ll use this opportunity to use your eagle eye to spot any repairs left incomplete, new damage that occurred, and to ensure that everything is in expected working order. After all, you don’t want to be strapped with repair bills that should be the responsibility of the seller!
Put that excitement to get into that new house aside and take a systematic approach to the walk-through process.
We’re here to share our first-hand tips on what to you need to examine.
What to take with you to the walk-through
Before you head off to the walk-through, here are some essential things you should toss into a tote bag and keep handy as you walk the property.
1. Your sales contract: You might need to peek at it to verify that the home meets all terms.
2. Inspection report: Use this to confirm that all remediations are complete.
3. Notepad and pen: If there are any discrepancies, you’ll want to keep excellent notes.
4. Your smartphone (and the charger): You can use the camera to take images to support your findings if there are shortcomings to correct. Also, you can use the phone and charger to verify that the USB outlets and electrical outlets are working.
5. Flashlight: This can come in handy in the basement or when peering under sinks.
6. Your real estate agent—but, please don’t stuff them in the tote bag with the other items. Your agent will serve as a go-between if you find anything out of order. Their presence can help keep your closing on track!
Check the sales contract terms and the inspection report
Before you begin checking the conditions of the home, pull out the sales contract terms and inspection report that you brought along with you.
Review all the terms of the sales contract. Did the seller agree that appliances, window treatments, or furnishings convey? Ensure that they are still present on the property and in serviceable condition.
Next, look over the inspection report. Verify that the seller has completed all the remediations suggested by the inspector. Also, ensure that the seller left work receipts or quality guarantees for you if you need to contact the repair technician.
Generally, sellers are to vacate the property in “broom swept clean” condition. You’ll need to see if the sellers have removed all their personal belongings, trash, and debris from the premises. You don’t want stuck cleaning up after them or to pay for hauling their waste.
Also, check the flooring, walls, and even the ceiling to make sure the sellers didn’t inadvertently make and rips, tears, or stains while moving out their belongings.
Finally, keep your eyes open throughout the property as you begin walking it for signs of pests—it doesn’t take long for them to move in, especially if the sellers moved out previously.
Check the kitchen carefully for any indication of mold, mildew, or leaks. Use a flashlight and inspect under the sink, around the dishwasher, and behind the fridge for any water damage.
You already verified that the appliances are in place, now take a moment to see that they are in working order—turn on every eye of the range, light the oven, start the dishwasher, microwave, and garbage disposal, and plug in the fridge to ensure it runs.
Finally, fill the sink with water and ensure that it drains freely.
Check every bathroom for signs of water damage. Here, you will focus on signs of mold or mildew around the toilet, tub/shower, and under the vanity. As you did in the kitchen, fill the sinks, then drain them.
A home’s mechanical systems are among the costliest to repair or replace. It’s urgent that you check these over carefully.
Set the thermostat to heat to make sure the heater fires up. Then turn on the A/C to verify that it cools properly. Ring all the doorbells and check to see that the seller left the burglar alarm panel in place.
Finally, open and close the garage doors using the openers.
Check your circuit breaker to make sure it’s in working order. Look at all the light and outlet plate covers to make sure they are intact. Finally, test all the switches and use your smartphone and charger to verify that the outlets all work.
Check behind the washing machine for signs of water damage. Start the washer and dryer to make sure they work. If you have a utility tub, fill it with water and make sure that it drains.
Windows and Doors
Take the time to open and close every window and door throughout the home. As you do this, check that the locks, latches, and hinges all function properly and that screens are damage-free.
Check outdoors to ensure that all debris is removed. Verify that all landscaping plants are in reasonable health. Turn on outdoor water taps to make sure the water runs.
The Bottom Line
The final walk-through is your final opportunity to require the sellers to make any needed repairs. Once you sign the closing documents, their problems become yours. Because you so wisely heeded our advice and took your realtor with you, he or she will take charge of making these last minute “fixes” before the closing.
Should your closing be postponed, allowing the seller to make these repairs, don’t despair. It’s better to have the home move-in ready that for you to deal with the aftermath of the seller’s hasty move-out.
If you need an experienced real estate agent to work with you from house hunting through to closing, please, get in touch. We are ready to serve you.
Elizabeth brings more than 15 years in corporate America and nearly ten years in real estate to her role at Glass House. She is a renowned and respected industry authority in real estate marketing. She is hard working, persistent, enthusiastic and service oriented with a focus on helping successfully guide her clients to achieve and exceed their real estate goals.