What Happens During the Walk-through?
When you purchase a new home, one of the final and most critical steps is the walk-through; this is the final inspection before closing. It’s a chance to ensure everything is in order and ready for the new owner. We’ll go through what happens and what you should be looking for.
What is a final walk-through?
The final walk-through is a chance for the buyer and their real estate agent to inspect the house room by room before the closing.
First, the walk-through is a chance for the buyer to ensure everything is in the same or better condition as the last time they saw the home (often at the inspection). The buyer verifies the seller hasn’t taken anything from the house they weren’t supposed to, and the seller has made all promised repairs.
Who attends the final walk-through?
Generally, it’s the buyer and their real estate agent attending. The real estate agent is there to help them through the process. The agent can provide guidance on what the buyers should look for during the walk-through. If something is wrong, the agent helps the buyer take next steps.
When does the walk-through take place?
The walk-through usually occurs after the seller has moved out. If the seller hasn’t fully moved out, they might be present for the walk-through, and in this case, the seller’s agent would also likely attend.
The walk-through is the buyer’s opportunity to ensure the home is in the condition it should be and nothing remains that the seller failed to address. After closing and the buyer moves in, it is usually too late to bring most problems forward. Therefore, being thorough at the walk-through is vital. Look out for the following:
1. Confirm repairs were completed
If you included an inspection contingency or requested repairs when the offer was submitted, did the seller agree? The walk-through is the final opportunity to ensure these required repairs were made, and no new, apparent maintenance is needed (damaged something during moveout). This is the last chance to confirm repairs meet your standards and include quality work.
Bring a copy of your inspection (the summary is fine), and the final accepted offer letter to confirm the status of all agreed repairs. Don’t just take the seller’s word that everything works well; check it yourself. If a light switch was to be replaced, turn on the light and leave it on for the duration of the walk-through, and check faucets for leaks turning each one on and off a few times.
Request that the seller provides the warranty or repair receipts for all work done on the home. Know who to call if it breaks again after moving in. This request can save money, as most repair companies provide a limited warranty.
2. Confirm all belongings were taken
The seller should be moved entirely out before closing; you will benefit for two reasons.
- Walking through an empty home is easier to spot new defects made during moveout and to confirm repairs were (or were not) completed.
- Ensuring a complete moveout will save you any trouble incurred cleaning up their stuff.
Review every room checking for any belongings that the seller may have left behind. Look for toys and landscaping tools. Look in all closets, the attic, basement, garage, and sheds. After a room is checked, close the door to it to ensure you don’t neglect anything.
Review the acceptance letter for all items the seller agreed would be left behind. Check for appliances, fixtures, and other agreed items. Contact the seller before the close if something was left behind or something was taken that should have been left.
3. Windows, Doors, and Security
Ensure the home is secure before closing, including the following:
- All windows and doors lock correctly and open easily
- If they stick, this can be a fire hazard and should be repaired
- Check screens for tears or defects
- Check if screens pop out easily
If the home comes with a security system that tells if a window or door is open, arm the alarm and confirm that the sensors on all of the doors and windows are in proper working order. Arm and disarm the system making sure that you have the correct code to do it and that only one code or key can do so. Confirm you have instructions to change the code and what to do if there is an alarm.
Confirm that all appliances in the home are working as expected. The following is a list of tests that you should conduct during your walk-through.
- Ensure that the oven heats up without a smell of gas, and confirm that all burners light or get hot as expected.
- Run a complete cycle of the dishwasher. Bring a dirty dish and put it in to confirm that it is cleaned and undamaged.
- Turn on the washing machine and the dryer, ensure the tumblers and agitators work and that the dryer is venting hot air.
- Run the hot and cold water for all the shower and sink drains to ensure they get hot quickly enough and drain out easily without clogging.
- Fill the bathtub while checking the shower and faucet, ensuring there is water pressure for the shower, and the bathtub can fill quickly enough. Look for leaks and that the water is able to plug and drain out.
- Flush every toilet in the home to make sure they all work well. Verify that the water shutoff valves near the base of the toilets also work, and there are no leaks around the base or that the handle and stopper work and the toilet does not constantly run.
- Confirm that there aren’t any strange smells/colors coming from the running water.
- Run the garbage disposal
- Open and close the garage door, and confirm that it seals correctly and opens with the correct key code if applicable.
- Run the heating, ventilation, and air conditioner (HVAC) on both warming and cooling modes, making sure that its heats and cools in a reasonable amount of time.
Ensuring all appliances work before closing can save money on repair bills.
“As Is” purchase
If you are buying a home “As Is,” use your walk-through to identify things that need to be repaired or replaced. This will make them simple to identify and easier to fix after closing.