Purchasing a new home is always an exciting new milestone in your life. While it may be a tedious process, checking the home for potential issues can prevent a headache in the future. A critical step when closing on your home is doing a final walkthrough checklist. We have everything you need to know about checking your new home for issues before you officially move in.
What Happens During the Final Walk Through Before Close?
- Nothing has changed since the last time you inspected the home, and that no items that were included in the sale have been removed (such as landscape plants, appliances, or fixtures).
- Everything is functioning correctly and safely.
- All repairs that were specified have been done.
What to Bring to Your Final Walkthrough
Print out, pack up, and bring along the following items for your arrival at the property:
- Your Real Estate Agent: Experienced, calm, and your guide through the whole buying process, your agent is there to make sure you take care of every detail.
- Any other written agreements, such as inspection reports and a copy of the contract. You’ll reference these to make sure required repairs are completed, and that all items included in the sale remain.
- A plug-in item to test outlets – a night light works well!
- A notebook to jot down notes in.
- A device to take pictures with, such as your phone.
- Summary of previous changes, such as required repairs performed by the seller.
What Happens if you Find an Issue During your Final Walkthrough?
Since you’re doing a double-check of items after the home inspection, it’s rare to encounter problems during the walkthrough. However, it’s a smart idea to be prepared, and know what your options are, should issues arise. Remember, your real estate agent is there to help you with the process.
If the problem can’t be solved on the spot, you have options:
- You can delay the closing until you are satisfied. Repairs can then be finished or initiated.
- Negotiate compensation for the issue. Often it’s easier to take possession of your home, and then handle the repairs yourself. Again, real estate agents deal with these issues all the time.
- Cancel or back out of the deal. Both you, the sellers, and the real estate agents don’t want this to happen. Let your agent work to negotiate a solution that works for everyone, and in a timely manner.
The Checklist for a Final Walkthrough
Your visit will have you working your way around both the interior and the exterior of the home. Take your camera, notebook, and printed documents, and cover the following items as you go.
What to check (Exterior)
- Doorbells should work
- The mailbox should be both present and in good shape
- Watch carefully for signs of structural issues such as dry rot or decayed wood. This is also the time to check for new signs of termite damage, or indications of rodent problems such as chewed wood and droppings. If the home has been vacant for some time, they may have taken advantage of the situation.
- Check gutters from ground level to make sure they don’t leak and are all intact. Look for staining or standing water on the ground.
- Turn on the exterior hose spigots make sure they are functioning easily, and that they turn off without leaking.
- Note any possible problems with irrigation systems by turning them on manually. They should work smoothly, with no missing or broken sprinkler heads.
What to check (Interior)
- All utilities should be on so that you can perform your checks.
- Any appliances should function. Run all major appliances, such as the washer, dryer, dishwasher, and refrigerator to make sure they’re operating as they should.
- No matter what the weather, check to make sure that the heating and cooling systems are working by turning them on briefly.
- Test any fans in the stove hood, bathrooms, or overhead.
- Check all faucets by turning them on. At that time, ensure that everything is draining properly.
- Run water in all bathtubs or showers, and check for leaks, drips, and other issues, especially after you turn them off.
- Flush toilets and ensure they don’t continue running or overflow.
- Check all room corners for mold, especially in bathrooms and other areas where moisture lingers. Mold issues can pop up quickly if the house has been vacant and closed up.
- Using your nightlight or your phone charger, check all outlets. Any problems here can indicate larger electrical issues that need to be addressed prior to your move-in.
- All lighting fixtures should be present as listed in your sales contract, and should work.
- Open and close all windows and doors make sure they work easily and close completely. At the same time, look for any missing window screens or damage, doorknobs that don’t work or lock, and problems with window blinds.
- As you walk around the home, be aware of any spongy floors – this can indicate deeper structural issues such as dry rot.