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What is a final walkthrough?

If you're closing on a home soon, congrats! You've reached the home stretch! After going through negotiations, inspections, and repairs, it's a relief to close on your new home. However, there's one last step to complete to make sure closing goes smoothly: the final walkthrough. Even if you've toured the house several times, it's possible you missed something. This is your last chance to scour the house thoroughly before you can call it your own, so take this step seriously!

final walkthrough before closing on a home

How the final walkthrough works

About one or two days before closing day, you and your Real Estate Agent will take one last physical walkthrough of your new home. This is your opportunity to tour the home again and ensure that any repairs or changes have been completed prior to signing your closing documents. After all, you don't want to pay money on repairs that the seller agreed to make during negotiations.

The final walkthrough gives you a chance to ensure the property is in the condition you expect prior to closing. Any issues requiring attention will be noted by your Real Estate Agent and addressed with the seller’s Agent, so it's a good idea to bring a notepad and a camera so you can report any issues. Bringing your contract and inspection summary along is a good idea too, so you can confirm that everything meets the terms. You should receive receipts and/or warranties for any repairs that were made so you can follow up in case something goes wrong with them later.

What to look for

On your final walkthrough, spend quality time making sure the home is in move-in condition so there aren't any mishaps on moving day. It may take an hour or more so set aside some time to really get to know your new home so you don't waste hours or even days on cleaning and repairs that should have been taken care of by the seller. Before your final walkthrough, it's especially important to make sure that the electricity, water, and gas service has been turned on. Here are some crucial things to check:

what to look for on your final home walkthrough
  • Locks: Make sure your stuff is safe by checking each of the door locks and window latches. Make sure all the windows have screens and that they open and close securely, too.
  • Outlets: Test each outlet with a small appliance like a nightlight or phone charger.
  • Moving debris: If the seller has left anything behind, like a dumpster or construction debris, check your contract to make sure they will be gone when you're ready to move in.
  • Personal property: Sometimes, sellers will leave items like appliances, blinds, and drapes that are not physically attached to the home. These agreed-upon personal property items should be listed in your contract.
  • Water damage: Mold and water damage can pop up in the short time between inspection and move in, so double-check for any leaks that could be causing this.
  • Running water: Turn on all the faucets, spigots, and showers to make sure you have hot water, good drainage, and no leaks. Flush all the toilets to make sure they don't run.
  • Appliances: If they are included in your contract, turn on any appliances to make sure they work. Don't forget about the washer and dryer!
  • Essential systems: Verify that the heating and cooling systems are working. Turn on the heater, even if it's the middle of summer! You definitely don't want any surprises when winter comes around. Test the security system, doorbells, garage doors, sprinklers, sound systems, and central vacuums if your house has them.
  • Exterior: Sometimes storm damage can happen unexpectedly, so check for any damage to roof shingles and other parts of the exterior. Make sure the lawn and landscaping meet your expectations. (Some sellers dig up shrubs and trees to take with them. Really!)

homebuying final walkthrough

Finishing up

If you discover any problems during the final walkthrough, it's important to address these issues quickly! After all, closing day is right around the corner. Talk with your Real Estate Agent and/or your attorney to get these issues fixed. This may push back your day of closing, but it will be worth it to make sure all the agreed-upon conditions of your contract are met. Otherwise, if the house meets your expectations and everything looks good, your Agent may have you sign a form acknowledging that you are satisfied with the condition of the house.

Want more advice about all things home — including homebuying or selling advice? Nestiny is a great place for homebuyer education and to help you gauge how ready you are to buy a home. Journey Homeward allows you to enter all your wants and needs while the True Affordability Tool will break down your budget, showing what you can comfortably afford. You will also receive a Ready Report that will give you a vital head start in the home buying journey, saving you valuable time and money.

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