The home buying process can seem unnecessarily long-winded at times. In a hot real estate market like we’re currently enjoying, you’ve probably had to put in multiple offers on different homes and battle against other buyers to finally get an offer accepted on the house you want. But it doesn’t stop with getting your offer accepted. There’s also the home inspection and probably a few repairs. Finally, once everything is completed, you sit and wait for the closing date to arrive. And then, usually on the morning of the closing (or perhaps the day before), you conduct one final walk-through of the property.
The Final Walk-Through Checklist
It’s easy for the final walk-through to feel like a formality, but you need to treat it with more attention. A failure to conduct a thorough walk-through could force you to deal with unnecessary issues down the road – issues that would have otherwise been the seller’s problem.
In order to help you understand what to expect during the final walk-through and how to maximize the last opportunity you have to inspect the property, we’ve compiled a handy checklist of some things our clients generally find helpful. Take a look:
- Bring the Right Items
Before you head to the walk-through, make sure you have the right items on hand. For starters, it’s a good idea to have your agent come with you. Real estate agents are experienced in walk-throughs and will know exactly what to look for. You’ll also want the home contract, just in case you need to reference certain issues and terms.
It’s smart to pack a little bag of items, as well. You’ll want a notepad and pen to write down any issues you notice. A tape measure is great if you need more information prior to move-in (such as the width of doors or clearance for furniture). It’s also wise to bring some sort of electronic device – such as a phone charger – or wire tester to confirm that all electrical outlets are functional.
- Verify All Repairs
Was the seller supposed to have certain repairs completed prior to closing? It’s important that you double-check and confirm that these repairs were actually done. If you have issues with anything, take pictures for your records.
- Check for Conveyed Items
When you made an offer and negotiated with the seller, there may have been certain items that you asked for as part of the sale. Then there are those items that are generally assumed to be conveyed with the property. As real estate agent Jeff Knox says, “The general rule of thumb is this: If it takes a screwdriver to remove the item, it is generally considered a fixture of the property.”
During your walk-through, make sure these items are still here and haven’t been removed. Look for light fixtures, appliances, window treatments, outdoor storage sheds, etc.
- Test All Appliances and Main Systems
It’s not always possible to meticulously comb over every square inch of the house during the walk-through, but you definitely want to pay attention to the big things that would be expensive to repair or replace.
Start with the appliances in the kitchen. Make sure the oven, stove, built-in microwave, and refrigerator are all functional. Next, move onto the plumbing system. Test all of the faucets, check under sinks for signs of leaks, flush the toilets, and test shower drains. Next up, spot test electrical outlets and run the HVAC system. As soon as you sign the dotted line at the closing table, these all become your responsibility.
- Look for Trash, Debris, and Junk
Just as appliances, plumbing systems, and HVAC units become yours at closing, so does everything else on the property. If the seller leaves a bunch of junk underneath in the garage, it becomes your responsibility to haul it off to the dump.
Make sure you look for things that the seller may have unintentionally (or intentionally) left behind. You can (and should) make them remove these items prior to closing.
- Prepare Your Emotions
As a heads up, the walk-through can be alarming sometimes. This is especially true if you previously toured the home when it was staged or fully decorated and you fell in love with the interior design. Now that the house has been cleared of all of the seller’s possessions, you may be shocked to see how bare it is.
“Consider the walk-through in advance and prepare for it mentally, emotionally and physically,” veteran real estate expert Brendon DeSimone advises. “Know what you want to look for, have a checklist, and keep your emotions and feelings in check. Doing so will make for a smooth ride to the close of escrow.”
- Communicate Issues Immediately
It’s not uncommon for home buyers to find problems during the final walk-through. If you identify some problems, be sure to communicate them to the seller’s agent immediately. Since most closings take place just hours after the walk-through, there isn’t a lot of time to fix something without delaying the closing.
Technically you have the option to walk away from the deal, but don’t let something small cause a deal to fall apart. It’s best to just ask the seller to take care of the problem and push the closing date back a few days. If they balk at repairing something that was agreed upon during negotiations, you have some room for legal recourse.
Team Up With Green Residential
Green Residential is a family-owned and operated residential real estate company that provides homebuyers and sellers in the Houston area with premium services that make the buying and selling processes a breeze. Our family has been in the real estate business for more than three generations and we take pride in the relationships we’ve built with the community over that period of time.
If you’re interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to contact us today! We look forward to building a long-term relationship with you and your family.