Just before a buyer closes on a home, they will go to a final walk-through to confirm that any repairs were completed and that the house is ready for move-in. This guide can help show what to expect from the walk-through process.
Follow-Up From the Home Inspection
The final walk-through should not be confused with a home inspection. The home inspection is usually conducted very early into the home buying process, to examine various structures and systems on the property to identify any problems. After the home inspection, buyers and sellers negotiate who will be responsible for any upgrades or repairs. This is the buyer's opportunity to check that any fixes on the seller’s to-do list have been performed according to the inspection. Take a copy of the home inspection when going to see the home, and collect receipts and other documentation for any work ordered by the seller. That way, there's a reference on hand in case you have trouble.
One Last Test
If the buyer hasn't had a chance to go through the home since making a purchase offer, this may be the only opportunity to make sure everything is working. Be comprehensive in your approach, and take as much time as you need. Test every light switch, every outlet, every faucet and each toilet. Confirm that all sinks drain appropriately. Turn on every appliance, and give the furnace and air conditioner long enough to run heat or cooling to see if they work consistently. Open and close each exterior and interior door and all windows. Take a notepad and write down the location and nature of any concern that turns up, so you can address it with the sellers when you are done.
An Opportunity to Ask Questions
Buyers who get to go through the final walk-through with the sellers may be able to get some valuable information. Do not hesitate to ask any questions that come to mind, especially about the proper function of the house. If the home is not yet vacated, ask the sellers about their moving timeline. When the house is mostly empty but a few items remain, check on the sellers’ plans to remove them. If the purchase contract does not mention particular moveable items or fixtures in the home, it's generally safe to assume that the seller is responsible for taking them out. Just in case, ask about anything left in the attic, basement or other storage places within the home. This will help to avoid hiring a cleaning crew before move-in.
The final walk-through is designed to give buyers one last look at the home before closing on the purchase and becoming the owner. Once all the documents are signed and the keys have changed hands, the new owner may be responsible for any problems that arise. Going through the home thoroughly and making sure that everything is in good working order is a practical way to define the line between the previous ownership and the new.
The final walk-through is an exciting time. Buyers should take an impartial eye with them when they go, so that they can perform a complete inspection of the property and feel safe that the house is in move-in condition.