Shortly before closing, you and your real estate agent will conduct a final walk-through. That will be your last opportunity to find and address issues before you fork over your money to buy the house.
What to Expect
The walk-through may be scheduled a few days before closing or on closing day. The amount of time required for a walk-through will depend on the size of the house and the number of items that need to be inspected. It may take anywhere from one to several hours.
The seller should have removed all furniture and belongings that aren’t included in the sale prior to the walk-through. That will allow you to look for problems that you might have missed when you first viewed the house.
What to Check
The home purchase agreement should list what the seller was supposed to leave behind, such as appliances, and any repairs the seller was supposed to make. Refer to the agreement and the inspection report as you walk through the house to verify that all the terms have been met.
Make sure the seller has made all required repairs and that they were done correctly. The seller should provide receipts for any previously agreed-upon repairs. You also want to see if any problems have arisen since the day of the home inspection.
Check the yard for debris. Go through the house and make sure the lights, sinks, toilets, showers, stove, oven, other appliances, doorbell and garage door openers all work correctly. Inspect appliances and plumbing components for leaks. Bring something that you can plug into outlets to verify that they work. Make sure all doors and windows open and close easily and lock correctly. Note and take photos of any issues you discover.
See if anything that you expected to be in the house is missing. The house should be relatively clean when you do the walk-through, but it doesn’t need to be spotless.
What to Do If You Find a Problem
If you discover an issue during the walk-through, the solution will depend on the nature of the problem and the cost to fix it. For an inexpensive problem, the seller may agree to give you money to cover repairs so you can close on schedule. If the problem will be expensive to fix, you can ask to put some of the money from the purchase price in escrow to be released to the seller after repairs have been made.
In some cases, it may be preferable to delay the closing. If that isn’t possible, you and the seller can sign an agreement stipulating that the seller will make repairs after closing.
Don’t Rush the Walk-Through
The final walk-through is extremely important. It’s your last chance to find and address problems before you sign a contract and take possession of your new home. Take the time to go through the house with a fine-toothed comb so you don’t discover expensive problems later and have to pay for repairs yourself.