You’re almost there. You can’t wait to finally get your house keys and move to this new place you’d call home. You just can’t contain your excitement as the closing day approaches.
However, you’ve still got the final walkthrough—your last chance to make sure everything is in place and in the right condition before you sign the paperwork. It’s a critical step in the home buying process so it can be just as nerve-wracking. There’s a lot to keep track of because you want to make sure that the house is exactly in the way you want it to be before it can be called yours. You and your real estate agent’s goal is to make the final walkthrough smooth sailing, so here are some tips before you reach the finish line.
Here’s what you should bring:
- Phone/camera – Use it to take photos of anything that concerns you or want to take note of.
- Phone charger – Aside from keeping your phone alive, you can use it to test the electrical outlets around the house.
- Notepad and pen – They might come in handy when jotting down notes and questions as needed.
- The home inspection report – You can use it to review the issues flagged by the inspector and check if the seller completed the negotiated repairs.
- Your home purchase agreement – This is your legally binding contract that lays out the terms agreed upon by both parties of the transaction.
Here’s what to look for:
- All the negotiated repairs have been completed, with proof of receipt validating that the work was taken care of, together with the date.
- All appliances included in the sale should be clean and functioning properly.
- All fixtures, such as doorknobs, cabinet handles, etc., should be included and in place unless it was indicated in writing that they will be the property of the seller.
- If you’re buying a new construction home, make sure to look for defects and other cosmetic issues.
- The home should be in broom clean condition.
Here are specific things to inspect:
- Test out both heating and cooling using the HVAC system, even if it’s freezing or scorching hot outside, and see if they’re working satisfactorily.
- Turn on and off all the light switches and ceiling fans.
- Plug your phone charger in every electrical outlet to make sure they’re functional.
- Inspect all walls, ceilings, and floors to check if there’s any damage or mold that wasn’t there before, especially in spaces where there used to be furniture.
- Run the garbage disposal.
- Run the exhaust fans or extractor fans in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Test all faucets and the showerhead to make sure they have both hot and cold water.
- Check the bathrooms and make sure they’re free from any mold, leaks, and water damage.
- Flush toilets to check for leaks.
- Test out all garage doors, doorbells, and any smart security systems.
- Make sure that all garbage, debris, personal belongings, and other items have been removed.
- Open and close all doors and windows and make sure they lock correctly.
Things You Will Want To Remember:
- Know the people who should attend the final walkthrough with you. Your real estate agent should accompany you and will be your “human checklist” while going through the property. Hopefully, the seller has already moved out so you and your agent can have all the freedom to inspect the home thoroughly and without pressure.
- The final walkthrough is not a home inspection. It’s to make sure that the home is in an acceptable and livable condition, free from any surprise damages that weren’t there when you last saw it. It’s also your chance to make sure all repairs you and the seller agreed in writing have been completed before finally getting your house keys.
- Don’t get too excited about the idea of having your “new home” just yet. Remember that the final walkthrough is the best time to check every inch of the home and not to think about your would-be sofa placement or the marvelous open floor plan.
- Practice patience and take your time. Don’t rush. Remember that this is your last chance to give the property a full look over before it’s all yours. Whether it takes a few minutes or more than an hour (depending on the size of the property), don’t shy away from inspecting and verifying all items that need attention.
- Don’t be tempted to pass on this opportunity! Just because the transaction closing date draws near doesn’t mean you should skip the final walkthrough. It’s never a good idea since many issues can come up and you could end up paying more for a home if you didn’t get the seller to reduce the home’s price as compensation for any neglected repairs.