Nearing the Home Buyer’s Finish Line: The Walk Through

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As a home buyer, you’ve come a long way. Your offer was accepted, the home has been inspected, the financing is complete, and you are about to close. There’s just one more crucial step: the final walk through. Here’s why it’s important.

Timing. Shortly after you signed the sales contract you should have had the home inspected during the due diligence period. Any significant repairs should have been negotiated and completed. Now, for the final walk through, you will confirm that the agreed-upon repairs were done and also make sure that nothing new has happened to significantly alter the condition of the property.  In general, the final walk through is scheduled one to two days before closing.

Who should be there?  You and your agent should conduct the final walk through.  Keep in mind, this review is not a formal inspection. It is merely a final follow up. Bring the sales contract, any disclosure forms and the list of agreed-upon repairs.

The check list.  First, review the list to make sure repairs have been done to your satisfaction.  After that, do the following:

✓ Walk around the property looking for any damage since the inspection, especially storm damage.

✓ Make sure all the lights work, inside and out. Do the same for all faucets. Look for leaks near any plumbing. Make sure sinks, showers and tubs drain properly. Flush all toilets and wait for the tanks to refill and stop when they should.

✓ Turn on and off every built in appliance making sure they work. Don’t forget the garage door opener, garbage disposal and exhaust fans in the kitchen and baths.

✓ Turn on and off the heating and air conditioning, making sure they are doing their jobs.

✓ Open and close all windows and doors, making sure they open and close fully. Make sure screens, storm windows and shutters are intact.

✓ Look for any signs of water damage to ceilings, floors and walls.

✓ Make sure the seller hasn’t removed any fixtures inside or out that should remain with the house. Make certain that no trees or shrubs have been dug up and removed.

✓ Make certain no unwanted chemicals, paint or debris have been left behind.

If there are any additional repairs that the seller must complete, you may choose to write an addendum to the contract.  Note that work should be completed by a licensed contractor, evidence of the work should be provided and payment made in advance of closing. If the work is not completed as agreed, then you may ask to withhold the reasonable expense of doing the repair correctly at settlement.