Doing a walkthrough before closing on your new home/property is very important. It is the very last step before you head to the title office to seal the deal. Considering that this purchase is most likely the biggest purchase you have made to date, it is something you absolutely want and need to get right. The walkthrough allows you to check out the property to make sure that any agreed upon updates and repairs have been completed and that the condition of your new home is even better than it was when you made the offer.
A walkthrough is best done the day before or the day of closing. There have been unusual and unpleasant stories of buyers not doing a walkthrough and finding out after the closing that the sellers weren’t moved out yet, that the yard hadn’t been cared for at all since the offer was made, or worse yet, the house was in total disarray because the sellers hadn’t bothered to do a final cleaning or make agreed upon repairs. Doing a walkthrough earlier can work, but you also won’t have the peace of mind of knowing on closing day, you will be walking into your perfect new home.
Your walkthrough will usually be done with your agent. The seller and their agent aren’t part of the walkthrough. This allows you and your agent to really look at everything with a magnifying glass and to talk openly.
Fortunately, if there are problems with the home, you can go back to the sellers and ask for improvements to be made immediately. They can comply or risk losing the sale. Stick to your guns if the issues are costly, or if they are ones that are of primary importance to you. There are very few house sales that completely fall through because of problems with a walkthrough. Sellers are usually very quick to get things straightened out, so that the closing can commence.
Here is a list of walkthrough items to ensure your “soon to be new home” is in the same condition or better than when you signed the final negotiations:
Inside the home
- Thermostat – Make sure it works. Check that it turns on and produces heat and a/c.
- Appliances – Make sure they all work properly. Check the gas on the stove and the temperatures of the refrigerator and freezer.
- Outlets – Take something with you so that you can check each outlet to make sure they work.
- Light fixtures – Make sure all the light fixtures were left behind and they work. Bring an extra light bulb, just in case!
- Windows/locks – Check that all the windows open and close properly and that the locks work. Find out who installed them in case you have problems.
- Doors/locks – Check that all the doors open and close properly and that the locks work. Also, make sure that you get keys at closing for every single lock (I didn’t get my garage key, so I had to buy a new doorknob and replace it).
- Closets – Check the closets to make sure they are empty and clean.
- Crawl spaces/basement – Take a look to see if they are clean and free of webs/critters and free of moisture and MOLD!
- Showers/Faucets/Tubs – Run the hot and cold water to make sure the water heater is working and look for signs of extreme mold.
- Make sure that everything that was negotiated to stay in the house has stayed in the house, including: furniture, window treatments, appliances, etc…
- New damage – look for any new damage that has occurred since you made the deal.
Outside the home
- Pests – Make sure there isn’t evidence of any new pests.
- Garage – Make sure the door works and that the space is cleaned out and functional.
- Landscaping – Check to see that it is maintained and healthy if that is how it was when you put down a contract.
- Rubbish – Make sure there isn’t any trash that was to be removed.
- Deck/Fencing/Patios – Ensure that it is in as good of condition as when you last saw it.
- Check any other areas that were to be repaired or improved upon.
What to take with you?
- Bring your negotiations and home inspection so that you can ensure that all repairs and improvements were completed per your agreements.
- Bring a camera to take pictures of anything that you feel breaks your purchase agreement.
Last minute thoughts
While there may be things wrong with the place that you didn’t notice before, be conservative in nitpicking things that weren’t discussed earlier (especially if they can easily be rectified) because the problems may have been there all along.
Also, if there has been any extreme weather occurrence from the time you negotiated to the closing, it is a good idea to look at the house again to make sure that the summer tornado didn’t do extensive damage!
Then, have your agent renegotiate if there are problems. Demand that they are done quickly (in the next day or so if possible).
And finally/hopefully, if all goes well, you will soon be at the closing, signing the dotted lines (approximately 1000), and shortly after, you will be stepping into your place called “home!”