What to Do in the Final Walk-Through

If you’re wondering what to do during a final walk-through, you’re definitely not alone. For first time homebuyers, this is an exciting, anxious experience. Even for those who have bought a home before, the walk-through is a time of high expectations. This is because it is the last chance to see the home firsthand before setting down to the closing table. The final walk-through represents just one of many real estate purchase contract contingencies. In the majority of contracts, it is only stipulated a home be in “broom swept” or “broom clean” condition. Of course, everyone has differing standards, but this presents a valuable opportunity.

What to Do in the Final Walk-Through

Generally the final walk-through will be scheduled about 24 hours before the actual settlement. It provides buyers with the ability to tour a property one last time. If this strikes you as important, it is because this is the time you are able to raise any last-minute concerns. In the majority of cases, there are no real issues. But, just like knowing what to look for at an open house, you should know what to do during the final walk-through.

You’ve found the home you love, made the offer, and the seller has accepted. You’ve gotten your inspections done, your loan is being finalized and an escrow closing date has been set. Great. But you’re not quite finished yet. Your next step is a final walk-through, arranged through your real estate agent, at least a week before closing. The goal: Ensure the property’s condition hasn’t changed since your last visit, that any agreed-upon repairs have been made and that the terms of your contract will be met. —Zillow Porchlight

An important and necessary distinction to make about a final walk-through is it is not another inspection. Rather, it is more-or-less a cursory check of the property. It will also be the first time (most probably), you’ll see the house empty. Every time you’ve seen it before, it’s been furnished and/or occupied. So, when you do step inside and begin to take a closer look, you’ll notice imperfections here and there. That’s okay, no home is perfect but this is the time to know what to do in the final walk-through:

  • Bring a copy of key documents. The home inspection report, the seller’s disclosure form, and a copy of the purchase contract are invaluable items to have on-hand during your final walk-through. These are great to reference and serve as important reminders when you walk-through the house.
  • Compare a list of items conveyed to you. In the average residential real estate sales contract, there are items which are conveyed to be transferred to the buyer when taking possession. Common examples include appliances and fixtures. Check to ensure all items which are listed are actually present.
  • Check for any unwanted items the seller left behind. One thing which can be a real source of annoyance for new homeowners is discovering the seller left behind unwanted items. If these were specifically listed to be removed, the buyer can simply exercise his or her right to have the seller retrieve said items.
  • Test all major appliances. While the home inspector likely did check all major appliances, it is still a good idea to test all the appliances in the home to ensure each is in working order. Testing of the systems, such as electrical outlets and plumbing, should also be done during the final walk-through.
  • Open and close all windows and doors. You’re not only opening and closing all the windows and doors in the home to ensure proper function, but also, to check to see if the screens and weather-stripping are in good shape.

Lastly, walk around the exterior of the home to ensure there are no other issues. You are looking for unwanted items the seller left behind as well as any telltale warning signs of potentially larger issues, like cracks in the exterior walls and foundation.