As closing approaches, buyers are typically overwhelmed with packing, setting up utilities and services, and ensuring their paperwork is ready to go. But, there’s one last step before you close on a sale: the final walk-through. With so much to do, buyers may be tempted to forgo this step, but that could be a costly mistake.
This final hurdle is extremely important and can save a lot of trouble later. Moreover, it’s especially important to complete the final walk-through if the house has been vacant or repairs have been made since the inspection. By taking one last look around before closing – preferably with your agent – you can confirm that everything is as it should be and, if it’s not, there’s still time to have any issues fixed.
Check out these 10 important areas to pay attention to during your final walk-through.
1. Confirm That Agreed-Upon Repairs Are Done
Often, sellers agree to make repairs based on the results of the home inspection. In this case, the final walk-through gives you a chance to confirm that they’ve been completed properly. Your realtor should be there and it’s also worth consulting a contractor if there are major repairs. If you’re satisfied with the repairs, be sure to get any invoices, permits and/or warranties so you know who to contact if there’s a problem later.
2. Verify All Items Included in the Sale Are Present
Consider bringing the purchase agreement with you to the final walk-through. This should list everything that’s included in the sale; use it as a checklist to ensure that you’re getting everything that you paid for.
3. Test the Plumbing
During the walk-through, be sure to thoroughly test the plumbing system, especially if the house has been vacant for some time. Run all of the faucets and the shower heads to check that the water runs clean and is set at the correct temperature and pressure. At the same time, fill up sinks and tubs to make sure they drain properly and look for leaks – especially under sinks and around toilets. Finally, flush the toilets, and check outside to confirm that there aren’t any issues with the septic tank.
4. Check the Electrical
Do a thorough check of the electrical systems by taking a phone charger or volt tester with you to check each outlet. Also, test all light circuits – including any exterior lights – to be sure they’re functioning correctly; this will also be beneficial in case you need to bring extra light bulbs on moving day. Finally, test electric garage doors, security systems, and the doorbell.
5. Ensure Safety & Security
It’s easy to overlook this one, but a careful check of the safety and security of the home is essential. First, check that every door and window opens and closes properly and locks securely. Windows or doors that stick could present a safety risk in the event of a fire or a security risk if they don’t close properly. Additionally, verify that all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire alarm systems are functional, as well as any security or alarm systems.
6. Try the HVAC System
Run both the cooling and heating systems during your walk-through to ensure they’re both working properly. For example, some sellers might be aware of a problem with the heating, but if they’re selling in summer, they may not remember or expect anyone to check it. So, check both systems in advance to avoid finding out that you have no heating or cooling when you need it most.
7. Check All Appliances
If you purchased a home with appliances included, make sure to check that they’re working, as well. If the seller has already moved out, it’s likely that they emptied and turned off the refrigerator and freezer. If so, take a good look inside them both to ensure mold hasn’t taken over and that they turn on properly. Turn on the oven, and check each light on the stove to ensure there isn’t a strong smell of gas. Start the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer for short cycles, and be on the lookout for any sewage smells, dirty water or leaks.
8. Inspect the Kitchen & Bathrooms
When not in use, these two rooms are typically the first to develop problems. Mold can take over a bathroom in a matter of days, so even if all was well during the inspection, it’s important to take a good look around. Check for standing water, leaks and signs of water damage. In the kitchen, check these same things, and pay close attention to the sink area and behind the fridge and dishwasher, in particular.
9. Look Out for Pests
An empty home can be a haven for any number of pests, from stray cats and dogs who found a way in, to bed bugs and termites. Larger animals will leave pretty obvious signs, but mice and rats might be more subtle. And, don’t forget to look inside and outside for signs of rotten wood, which can indicate termites.
10. Look Around Outside
In addition to taking a good look inside the house, be sure to check that the outside area has been left as agreed. Some sellers have been known to dig up their favorite plants and take them with them, leaving gaping holes in the earth. If necessary, check irrigation systems, fences, gates, and any outdoor appliances and electrical outlets.
Once the walk-through is complete, you can discuss with your agent any concerns that arose, and any major issues can be presented to the seller to fix. On the other hand, if you’re happy, you can close the sale knowing that your new home is ready and waiting for you!