You’re almost there—it’s closing day on your new home. As exciting as that is, you aren’t done yet. You will need to do one last, very important step. And that is the final walkthrough. While it’s a great opportunity to visualize where to hang your favorite paintings, there is more to it than that. This is your last chance to make sure there are no deal-breaking problems. Whether it’s something as simple as realizing screens are missing from the windows or something as serious as major water damage in the basement, this is the last chance you have to have the previous owners fix it. And in my years as an agent, I have seen it all; and in rare instances, the deal has fallen through as a result.
5 Tips for a Productive Final Walkthrough
It’s important to know what to look for in your final walkthrough. Here are five things you should look for:
- Make sure they items that convey are there. If you think the washing machine or the stained glass window are yours, make sure they're still there during the walkthrough. Your purchase agreement should list everything that conveys, so there shouldn’t be any surprises. But double check it. I've seen sellers remove something because they forgot it conveyed.
- Conversely, if something is supposed to be gone, make sure it's gone! Assume that anything you see laying around is still going to be there when you move in. If you don't want it, make sure the sellers take it away. I've seen people try to leave broken furniture and all sorts of things.
- Make sure the seller has completed any repairs they were responsible for — these should be listed in the purchase agreement. Ask for receipts if the repair isn't something you would necessarily notice on the walkthrough.
- Make sure there is no new damage. This can be as simple as a scratch in floor from moving furniture out to a busted pipe (yep, I've seen that on walkthrough). You'll want to discuss costs of repairs for these things at the closing and negotiate the repair costs.
- Finally, make sure everything works! Chances are, when you first saw your dream house, you were so excited you didn't methodically walk room to room and test every light switch, close every door, latch every window, and turn on every appliance. It’s not too late. Things break between home inspections and closings, and it's not fun to discover that after you've purchased the house. Make sure you have copies of warranties and owner's manuals for appliances.
Fixing What Broke
Keep a list of everything you've found on the final walkthrough. Your agent will help you negotiate getting these items fixed/replaced/corrected with the seller.
Once your walkthrough is complete and there are no deal breakers, do a happy dance to celebrate your new home!