The process of buying a home includes several benchmarks and key events. One of the most significant is the final walkthrough.
Typically, this is scheduled either for the day before you close, or in some cases even the morning of your closing. It allows the buyer (along with the buyer’s real estate agent) to tour the property one last time, evaluating its condition before signing on the dotted line.
There are a couple of main benefits of the final walkthrough:
- The final walkthrough happens after the inspection and after all your requested repairs have been made… and as such, it affords homebuyers a chance to make sure the sellers held up their end of the bargain and did all the things they promised they would.
- It also gives you an opportunity to see if any last-minute issues have arisen, like major flooding or electrical failure, that could impact the final sale.
It’s tempting to think of the final walkthrough as a formality, and indeed, most of the time that’s just what it is; you don’t really want any issues to pop up, as they could derail the sale process.
With that said, it’s important to take the final walkthrough seriously, and to make sure you keep your eyes wide open for any potential deal breakers, or issues that require the seller’s resolution.
Here are a few tips we’d offer to buyers, helping them make the most of their final walkthrough.
Tips for the Final Walkthrough
- Bring a copy of the inspection report. Remember, one of the primary reasons for the final walkthrough is to make sure the seller resolved any issues that were uncovered by the home inspection… or at least, the issues they agreed to resolve. Bring along a copy of the report to help jog your memory.
- Check the lights. As you go through the house, flip every light fixture off and on, ensuring they’re working as intended.
- Flush the toilets. Along the same lines, briefly flush each toilet, making sure there aren’t any clogs, any flooding issues, etc. You don’t want to move into a home where the commode doesn’t work!
- Test all the appliances. You won’t necessarily have time to bake a cake or wash the dishes, but you can at least flip on all the appliances and make sure they’re functional.
- Check the garage door openers. Ascertain that each garage door opens and closes the way it’s supposed to.
- Run the garbage disposal and all exhaust fans. Again, you just want to make sure everything basically
- Check windows and doors. Take some time to ensure that all windows and doors open and close properly.
- Test the HVAC. No matter the season, you’ll want to flip on both the heat and the cool. Just make sure they’re working; if not, that’s definitely something to address before you sign off on the closing.
These are just a few of the big-ticket items to examine during the final walkthrough; the question is, what can you do if you do encounter a significant problem in the final hours before closing?
Dealing with Problems During the Final Walkthrough
If there’s a serious issue with the home, talk to your agent about how to proceed. Typically, the course of action will be something like this:
- Quickly get an estimate on how much it will cost to have the issue repaired or resolved.
- Bring the estimate to the seller (and to the seller’s agent).
- Ask for that amount to be withheld from the seller’s proceeds, giving you an allowance to have the issue remedied.
In rare cases, the problem may be so extreme that you want to back out of the deal altogether. That’s something to talk over with your agent, as it will come down to the way your contract is worded.
More Questions About the Process of Selling a House?
The final walkthrough is an important step in the process of selling a house (and of buying a house). If you have any additional questions, we welcome you to bring them to us. Additionally, we encourage you to request your free seller’s report from SOLD.com. Claim yours today and take a big step toward getting your home sold!