Doing the final walk through to get into a new home is one of the most exciting parts of moving.
But, it’s important to pay close attention during a new home walk through because this is your last chance to identify any potential problems or things that need to be fixed before you move in. Once you sign off on this walk through the seller won’t be responsible for fixing anything or making any changes to the home.
Typically the walk through is done as close to the closing as possible, like the day or evening before the closing. But if you’re buying a new construction home the walk through may be done earlier so that the builder has time to complete any last-minute repairs or fixes.
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Getting Ready For The Walk Through
It’s very easy to be so overwhelmed by the end of the home buying process that you miss things on the final walk through. So you should prepare in advance for the walk through to make sure that you have everything you need and you’re ready to notice all the small details that you should be paying attention to.
Get a good night’s sleep the night before the final walk through so you’re alert. And pack a bag containing:
- A phone charger
- A snack
- Paper and pens or pencils
- A checklist of everything that you want to check during the walk through
- Copies of the sales paperwork and any agreements that have already been made such as what repairs the seller is responsible for.
Sometimes final walk throughs are done very quickly, but in other cases, you may be there for some time which is why it’s a good idea to have water, a snack, and a phone charger. You may also want to bring a trusted contractor with you to the final walk through to have them check any repairs that were done.
Don’t ever let someone allow you to feel rushed. Take as much time as you feel you need to feel comfortable checking everything off of your list.
Creating A Checklist
It’s essential to have a checklist of items that you can work from during the final walk through. Without a checklist, you will inevitably forget to check something major.
To create your checklist write down room by room the things that should be examined in the house. Most people start their checklist with the curb appeal and exterior of the house and then work through the rest of the house.
Your checklist should include:
You will notice the curb appeal of the home as soon as you pull up.
Is the grass mowed? Are the plants tidy? Does the home look the same as it did when you first toured it?
Make sure there is no new damage to the driveway or walkways, the landscaping, or the front of the home. The house should look the same as it did when you first put in the offer. That includes any plants or landscaping. It’s assumed that the plants will not be removed and taken by the seller.
Make a note of anything that has changed.
If the home has a garage open all the garage doors to make sure they are all working. If the garage has lights check the lights to make sure they are all working.
Ask about the garage door openers and find out how many they are and where they are located. You should be given the garage door openers with the keys when you take possession of the home.
If the seller has any boxes or personal possessions still in the garage check with the seller to make sure those will be removed before the closing. By the time of the final walk through the seller should have all their possessions moved out, but sometimes they are not able to get everything out until the day of the closing.
The Exterior Of The House
It’s important to check the exterior of the house for any damage. There could be storm damage that has occurred since you first saw the house.
Check to make sure the siding is in good shape and has no holes or breaks. Take a quick look at the roof to make sure there are no loose shingles or holes. You may also want to check the gutters to make sure they are not loose.
Inside The House
It can seem overwhelming to try and look at all the areas of the home to make sure nothing has changed. But you should always check these things:
- Make sure that all of the lights work, that all outlets have power, and that all light fixtures are in good condition.
- Turn all the faucets on and off, check each one for leaks, make sure that the water gets hot when you turn the tap to hot, and look at all the drains to make sure they aren’t clogged. Run the water for a minute to make sure that the drains are working properly. Don’t forget to test the sinks in the laundry room if there is a utility sink in the laundry room.
- Look for any new water damage or any mold on the walls, ceilings, around the windows, and in the basement.
- Check behind appliances and under cabinets for signs of pests or bugs.
- Test all of the appliances including the washer and dryer to make sure they work. Check the refrigerator and the freezer to make sure they are cold.
- Make sure that all the doors and windows open, shut, and lock. Ask how many keys there are and write that number down so that you can be sure you are given all the keys at the closing.
- Flush all the toilets, and run the shower and bath.
- Look for any cracks, nail holes, or any other damage to the walls. Check the floors for gauges, scrapes, or stains.
- Turn on the heat and the air to make sure the HVAC is working and inspect the HVAC unit.
- Make sure all of the seller’s items are out of the house or get the assurance they will be out before closing.
- The home shouldn’t be excessively dirty or have visible stains and debris or garbage left behind.
If There Are Problems
If there are big issues like there is damage that wasn’t there before, or the seller can’t get all their items out before the closing the final walk through is the time to deal with those issues. Don’t wait until the closing.
Make sure that your agent and the seller’s agent are on the same page about any agreements that you make with the seller like agreeing to store their items for a day or the seller offering cash to pay for damage that happened when they were moving out.
Finally, once you’ve finished the final walk through and closing, here are some tips to get your new home move-in ready!