Final Walk-Through Checklist for New Homebuyers
Now that you’ve found your dream house and had your offer accepted by the seller, you might be wondering what happens next. A final walk-through is one of the last steps before closing on a new home — it’s also one of the most important steps. This guide will provide an overview of everything you need to know about the final walk-through so you can know what to expect.
What Is the Final Walk-Through?
A final walk-through allows the buyer to inspect their new home before officially closing and signing the paperwork. During this step, the house should be completely empty as that enables the buyer to double-check things without the distraction of furniture, such as if the electrical outlets are working.
Oftentimes, a purchase agreement will require that sellers leave their house in a “broom swept” condition, which means that the whole home should be thoroughly cleaned and there should be no remaining items.
Once the buyer has had a chance to thoroughly inspect everything, the buyer and seller will sign a Verification of Property form. This document states that the buyer has had an opportunity to look at the property one last time and is satisfied with its condition.
What Is the Purpose of a Final Walk-Through?
Keep in mind that a final walk-through is not a home inspection. At this point, the buyer should have finished negotiations with the seller regarding repairs, so you might be wondering — what’s the purpose of a walk-through?
As the new homebuyer, a final walk-through enables you to visit the new home and spend time thoroughly looking through it room by room. The purpose of the walk-through is to ensure that everything is in the same condition it was when you agreed to buy it.
A walk-through is the homebuyer’s last chance to ensure that everything is working properly and that any agreed-upon repairs have been completed by the seller. After you sign the contract and paperwork on closing day, there will be no more opportunities to negotiate costs or repairs with the seller. Because of that, a final walk-through is a must.
What Should I Look for in a Final Walk-Through?
From the interior to the exterior, this final walk-through checklist will make sure your new home is ready.
- Light fixtures and doorbells — Check and make sure the electricity is working properly.
- Outlets — In addition to checking the light fixtures, the outlets need to be checked. To test this, you can easily bring along a phone charger to the walk-through to test out the outlets.
- HVAC system — No matter what the temperature is outside, make sure to run the heating and air conditioning.
- Hot and cold water — Test the water flow from both the hot and cold water.
- Faucets — Checking the hot and cold water is important, but make sure that faucets are all running as they should be, and make note of any leaky faucets.
- Stove burners — Make sure the stovetop heats up without smelling like gas.
- Any water damage — Check for signs of mold or water damage, paying close attention to areas such as under the sink, by the dishwasher, or refrigerator.
- Appliances — Test to see if appliances are working, such as the washing machine and dryer or garbage disposal.
- Window screens — Window screens help guard your window against bugs, debris, and insects, so check for rips in the screens or cracks in the frame.
- Signs of pests or termites — Tell-tale signs of insect activity include wings, droppings, and odd smells.
- Garage doors and garage door openers — Test that the garage doors are opening and closing as they should.
- Lawn and landscaping — It’s a good idea to check the condition of the landscaping and, if the new home has any sprinklers, to make sure they are working.
- New damage or cosmetic issues — Walk around the property to inspect whether there are any new defects since the last time you visited or damages that might negatively impact the appearance of the home.
In addition to carefully examining both the interior and exterior of your new home, it’s a good idea to bring along your home inspection report and your final, accepted letter. For instance, if the purchase agreement mentions new window screens, then make sure that this repair has been successfully completed. Remember, if you and the seller agreed to any negotiated repairs, this should be completed at this point.
Other Common Questions
Now that we’ve discussed what a final walk-through is, why it is important, and what you should look for, here are some other common questions you might be wondering.
Who Participates in a Final Walk-Through?
The walk-through is for the potential buyer. Sellers rarely participate in this interaction. In fact, at this point, the seller will have most likely moved out of the house and completely cleared it of their belongings. Without the seller present, the buyer will have freedom to examine the property at their leisure. If buyers or sellers are working with a real estate agent, the buyer’s agent often participates in the walk-through.
When Does a Walk-Through Take Place?
Typically, a final walk-through is scheduled within 24 hours prior to the closing date, or as close to closing day as possible. Depending on your circumstances, it might happen on closing day itself.
One advantage of scheduling a final walk-through as close to the closing date as possible means that the home will be accessible and vacant. The purchase agreement will state the terms of the final walk-through.
What If I Find Problems During the Walk-Through?
Although it’s not ideal to discover issues during the walk-through, it’s helpful to know what to expect should this situation arise. In this situation, Aalto is there to provide assistance and guidance on the best course of action for proceeding forward. Our team of experts is trained in responding to such situations and can provide advice on what you should do.
Depending on the severity of the issue, the potential buyer might attempt to renegotiate the offer with the seller. Sometimes this means a last-minute change to the sales contract that states whether you or the seller will resolve the issue. If the repair is too problematic, the buyer may end up walking away from the home sale as this is within their right.
Get Started With Aalto Today
A final walk-through is never a waste of time. Instead, it provides an opportunity for you as the new homeowner to feel confident about closing on your new home. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, then be sure to educate yourself on real estate red flags.
At Aalto, we help homebuyers and sellers navigate the real estate process through our self-service platform. New homebuyers can shop for homes online and sellers can upload their home to the website with no requirements or expectations.
Whether you’re buying or selling, Aalto works with you on your terms and on your timeline. Our licensed professionals are available to answer questions, provide assistance, and help you navigate the real estate market. Sign up on Aalto today and start the journey to find your dream home.
Aalto is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, License #02062727 and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. This article has been prepared solely for information purposes only. The information herein is based on information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy of the information. Aalto disclaims any and all liability relating to this article.