How to Ace the Final Walkthrough

by Jessica Brita-Segyde

The big day is almost here! If your closing date is coming up soon, your Realtor has probably scheduled a type of showing called the “final walkthrough”. The final walkthrough typically occurs within 48 hours of closing and serves as the time for buyers and their agent to give the property a final inspection. It will probably be your last time inside your new home before it officially becomes yours.

What should you look for in a final walkthrough? Here’s a list to help guide you:

  • First and foremost, gauge the overall condition of the property. Are the structure and land in the same or better condition that they were when you made the offer?
  • Go into detective mode” as you enter each room. Check all light switches, faucets, toilets, appliances, garage doors, furnaces and anything else that you expect to function properly when you move in. You can use your phone charger or a night light to test the outlets.
  • Have the conditions on the purchase agreement been met? For example, if your offer stipulated that window treatments are to remain with the home, are the window treatments still there? When you sign the closing papers (probably later today or tomorrow) you acknowledge that all purchase conditions have been met as of your final look.
  • If you had a home inspection, bring a copy for reference. Have any conditions that arose from the home inspection been fulfilled? For example, if all parties agreed that windows be repaired, do those windows look solid and do they open and close properly? If you’re not sure that a certain condition has been met, look for an invoice from the related service professional. The seller’s agent will usually leave paid invoices on the kitchen counter. If you can’t find proof that all conditions have been met, ask your Realtor to contact the seller’s agent as soon as possible for proof of completion.
  • Use your sense of smell. Do you detect any strong pet odors or sewage smells that weren’t there before? Find the source and determine if it’s something that needs corrected before closing.
  • Open and close any windows and doors that were in good working order at the time of your offer.
  • Inspect the exterior of the home for damage like missing shingles or siding, especially if there was a recent storm. Check that any landscaping that was part of the offer is still in the ground.
  • If you’re purchasing a newly-built home, check that all of the items in your construction agreement are complete and that all upgrades are present.
  • Ask your Realtor if he or she feels comfortable with the condition of the home.

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What Can You Do if Something’s Not Right?

If issues do come up during your walkthrough, don’t panic. Discuss any problems with your Realtor. He or she can advise on whether conditions still need met and/or if the purchase contract will need amended. It is usually not necessary to delay closing for unexpected mishaps. Most buyers and sellers prefer to work things out together and proceed on schedule. Larger issues may result in an extended closing date, though this is unlikely. The final walkthrough is a time during the home purchase/negotiation process when it certainly benefits you to have a Realtor on your side. The final push before closing can be an emotional time for a buyer, and understandably so! A seasoned real estate professional knows how to proceed with grace and logic and is your best guide from the offer to the closing table.

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