Final Walk-Through Checklist: What To Look For (2024)
As you prepare to move into your new home, it’s essential to ensure everything is in good working order before signing off on the purchase. This step is known as the final walk-through, and it’s meant to prevent unpleasant surprises on move-in day and beyond. To help you prepare for this crucial step, the This Old House Reviews Team has compiled a comprehensive final walk-through checklist.
In this guide, we cover everything from checking the garage-door openers to inspecting the HVAC system. We also answer common questions, such as who should come with you, how long it will take, and what to do if you find issues. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an experienced homeowner, our checklist will help you ensure your new home is move-in ready before you (or your professional movers) arrive with your belongings.
Final Walk-Through Explained
The final walk-through is an important step in the home-buying process that should not be overlooked. It provides the homebuyer with one last chance to inspect the property and ensure that everything is in working order. During the final walk-through, the homebuyer and their real estate agent walk through the home together.
During the final walk-through, the homebuyer and their real estate agent will inspect the property one last time to ensure that everything is functional and that any agreed-upon repairs have been made. This includes ensuring all appliances, fixtures, and systems work. You should also check that any items that were included in the sale, such as appliances or window treatments, are still present and in good condition.
The final walk-through is also an opportunity to check for any new issues that may have arisen since the initial home inspection. For example, if the home has been vacant for a period of time, there may be new signs of pest or water damage. You should also check that any repairs that were made are up to your satisfaction and have been completed to a professional standard.
Ideally, the final walk-through should take place a few days before closing to give you enough time to identify any issues and resolve them before the sale is finalized. However, final walk-throughs often occur within 24 hours of closing—sometimes on the way to the closing office. This is an especially convenient option if you need to coordinate a cross-country relocation with interstate movers because it eliminates the need for you to make an extra trip.
Note that the timing may vary depending on the purchase agreement and local regulations. Your real estate agent or attorney should be familiar with the specific requirements in your area.
The homebuyer should always attend the final walk-through with their real estate agent. This holds true for both local and long-distance moves. In most cases, the seller will have already vacated the property, and the final walk-through will be conducted in their absence. If the seller has not vacated, they and their real estate may be present.
Since the final walk-through is not a home inspection, a professional home inspector is not typically present. However, if you have concerns about the property’s condition, you may want to schedule a separate appointment with a qualified inspector.
Generally, a final walk-through can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. The length of time will vary depending on the size of the property, the complexity of the systems being inspected, and the thoroughness of the inspection.
Rushing through the final walk-through can lead to missed issues, resulting in costly repairs or replacements after the sale is finalized—adding to your total moving costs. With that in mind, be sure to leave yourself enough time for a thorough inspection.
To ensure you are fully prepared for the final walk-through, you should bring the following things with you:
- Any written agreements regarding repairs
- Camera or phone to take photos or videos of any issues
- Checklist of things to look for
- Copy of the purchase agreement
- Home inspection report
- Notepad or mobile device for documenting issues
- Phone charger to check the outlets
- Tape measure to ensure that new furniture or appliances will fit
What To Look For During the Final Walk-Through
During the final walk-through, it’s important to be thorough and inspect both the interior and exterior of the home. We’ve provided specific checklists of what to look for below.
Round out your list with any items or issues specific to the home or your negotiations with the seller. For instance, you may need to verify that a certain repair has been completed satisfactorily.
As you conduct your final walk-through, remember that most real estate contracts simply state that the home should be “broom clean.” A few scratches or a little dirt is not worth stressing over. Just plan to do your own deep clean once you’re moved in—or add the cost of hiring a professional cleaner to your moving budget.
What To Do If You Find Issues During the Final Walk-Through
If you find issues during the final walk-through, don’t panic. Minor issues are common, and most can be resolved easily before closing with the help of your real estate agent. There are four types of issues you may encounter:
- Fixtures or furniture included in the contract have been removed.
- New repair or maintenance issues have arisen since the inspection.
- Previously functional systems or appliances are no longer in working order.
- Repairs that were agreed upon have not been completed.
The first step is to document any issues you find. This can include taking photos or videos of the issues and making note of their location and severity. You should also discuss any issues with your real estate agent as soon as possible to determine the best course of action.
Depending on the nature of the issue, you may need to negotiate with the seller for repairs or a credit at closing. Your real estate agent can help you navigate this process and ensure that your rights as a buyer are protected.
By carefully inspecting both the interior and exterior of your new property during the final walk-through, you can identify issues that need to be addressed before moving in, thus avoiding unpleasant surprises. Bring a checklist of items to inspect, a camera or phone to document potential issues, and a copy of the home inspection report and final contract. Document any issues during the final walk-through and discuss them with your real estate agent as soon as possible.
The final walk-through is the last opportunity to confirm that the home is move-in ready and all contract terms have been met before you take possession of the property. By proactively identifying any issues, you can help ensure a smooth, budget-friendly moving and home-buying experience.
FAQ About Final Walk-Throughs
Do sellers go to a final walk-through?
Sellers do not typically go to the final walk-through. However, they may be present if they choose to be. Sometimes, the seller’s real estate agent may attend the walk-through on their behalf.
What should I do before the walk-through?
Here’s a list of what you should do before the final walk-through:
- Review the purchase agreement.
- Schedule the walk-through.
- Confirm the details of the walk-through.
- Create a final walk-through checklist.
- Gather any items needed for the walk-through.
- Complete any final moving-related tasks.
What should I do if I find something new during the final walk-through?
If you find something new during the final walk-through, you should take the following steps:
- Document it with photos or a video.
- Note the location and severity of the problem.
- Discuss it with your real estate agent.
- Negotiate with the seller for repairs or a credit at closing.
- Postpone the closing, if necessary, until the issue is resolved.
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