Updated May 10th, 2019
Once you’ve gone through the stressful process of finding a house, obtaining financing, and having the property inspected, you will undoubtedly be excited to settle into your new home. However, going through one final walkthrough is essential before you put pen to paper.
In such an important and time-consuming process, it’s easy to overlook the little things. That’s why we’ve put together this guide, to serve as a final, detailed checklist that will help ease your worries and ensure the transition into your new home is seamless.
The Final Walk Through Checklist – “Trust but Verify”
You’ve spent months researching, finding, negotiating, and inspecting this property, however, there is still a chance something was missed along the way.
Buyers can still be confident in the new home purchase, but diligent buyers should think of the final walkthrough as a “trust but verify” situation.
Remember, this is the last time you will be able to make any significant changes to the transaction before closing and the mortgage payments set in.
Our final home walkthrough checklist includes these considerations that should be examined one last time for your peace of mind.
Step #1 — List of Supplies
Before embarking on your final walk-through, make sure you have enough time to be thorough. On average, this will take approximately 30-60 minutes for all the items you need. This includes the following:
- Contract of Sale – for a guide to use as a reference.
- Inspection summary – for a list of repairs the seller was supposed to make after the inspection.
- Cell phone – for taking pictures of insufficient repairs or taking notes.
- Phone charger – for testing electrical outlets with your mobile phone.
- Real estate agent – for a second pair of eyes, extra peace of mind, and answers to any questions that you may have.
- Handy friend or inspector – similar reasons to the real estate agent.
Once you have everything organized, you can go to your final walkthrough.
Step #2 — Double-Check All Post-Inspection Repairs
The single most important item on this list is the repairs the seller should have made post-inspection, which can be found in the Inspection Summary.
If you are not proficient in construction, it can be worthwhile taking a home inspector or someone handy with you. They can assess the repairs fully and also spot any hidden problems, potentially save you a lot of money in the long term.
Receipts and warranties are essential documentation to have, should anything go wrong in the future. Ensuring that you have these will make the process of repairs much easier.
Step #3 — Look for Moving Damages
As you’re checking the rooms in the list above, be on the lookout for damages that result as the seller was moving out. A common list of these items can be found below:
- Construction debris from repairs
- Scuffs, scrapes or holes on walls and doors.
- Fractured or busted tile
- Stained flooring and carpet
- Water damaged wood
Step #4 — Check for General Sale Items & Unwanted Items
While checking repairs, buyers should also be referencing their contract to make sure the house comes with everything that was paid for. As importantly, the house should also be rid of all the lingering items not included in the transaction. In addition to looking in the main parts of the house, be sure to check the following rooms (if applicable):
The last thing you want is having to deal with waste left behind in the attic.
Step #5 — Check the Kitchen and Bathrooms
The bathrooms and the kitchen are prime areas for small damages, mainly due to the primary reasons for usage and the amount of plumbing involved. Repairs to plumbing can be costly, so the first thing to inspect in these rooms are signs of mold and water damage.
Below is a list of items to test and what to look for:
- Shower-heads: Ability to produce a steady stream of hot water with no excess water dripping once turned off.
- Bath Tubs & Sink Drains: Each should drain at a sufficient rate with no signs of blockage.
- Appliances: For the appliances that are staying with your purchase, make sure to check each to ensure they are working properly. This includes ovens, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, and washing and drying machines.
- Toilets: Check each flush handle, flush lever, chain, and flapper valve to make sure all parts are functioning.
Step #6 — Check the Windows and Doors
You should check that all the latches and locks on the windows and doors are in working order. It may seem like a hassle but you should try every single one to make sure it works. Repairing a broken lock can be stressful and time-consuming. You should be sure to carefully inspect whether the windows open properly and don’t stick since that can pose a serious fire hazard.
Step #7 — Look For Pests & Rodents
A dream home doesn’t include unwelcome mice or cockroaches jumping out at unexpected times. Below are the 3 main pests and what to look for during your final walk through.
- Rodents – Check the small, dark crevices in the home including cabinets, pantries, or storage rooms for signs such as shredded paper or fabric.
- Bugs and Insects – Dead bugs, bug parts, and openings in the home where bugs could creep through from the outside.
- Termites – Visible mud tunnels in the foundation or visible holes in wood.
Step #8 – Test the HVAC Systems
Fully test your heating and air conditioning systems for proper functionality. A good way to test the heating systems in the house is by setting a temperature on arrival and then checking the temperature in each room with a thermometer or mobile app on your phone.
Step #9 — Examine Other Electrical Systems
In addition to the HVAC system, the other less critical electrical items should work as expected. Below is a list of the systems to check:
- Security system
- Garage door
- Circuit breaker
- Light switches
- Electrical outlets
For the first five, simply turning each off and on will suffice as an adequate test. For each electrical outlet, plug in your mobile phone charger to your phone.
Step #10 — Investigate the Exterior
Last but not least, buyers should complete a thorough check of their future house’s exterior and look for the following:
- Damages or cracks in paving stones
- Signs of damage or blockages in gutters
- Damaged or missing siding
- Rotted or rickety wood posts on decks
What If There are Issues?
If a problem arises at the final inspection, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the deal will fall through. The most common outcome is the delay of closing to address the work needed to address the final walkthrough issues. Another fairly common resolution to an issue at walkthrough is the seller providing a concession, such as a fixed monetary amount, to the buyer.
Questions to Ask Before Closing
Your final walkthrough is the perfect time to ask the seller a few questions about the home. Most often, they've lived in it for several years and will know the little quirks about it. Here's a list of questions to ask while you're poking around:
- What's the one thing you always wished you could change about the property?
- What are the quirks in the home? Does a door stick or do you have to jiggle the lock?
- What is your favorite spot in the house?
- What are you most going to miss about the house?
- What is a good forwarding address in case you get any mail?
This checklist has covered for you to complete a thorough final walkthrough and, upon completion, will leave you confident in purchasing the property. While these checks may seem tedious, spotting something before making the final purchasing decision can save a considerable amount of time, money, and headache.
With nationwide coverage, Clever is here to connect you with agents that provide full service at every step of the way, including the final walkthrough. Get better results for lower fees – Contact Clever today!