Although they aren’t required, final walk-through inspections are an important step that homebuyers should always take right before completing their purchase. The main purpose of this walk-through is to ensure that all expectations have been met and the home is in the exact condition you agreed to buy it in. You also want to make sure nothing has gone wrong in the home since you last saw it. Whether the heater is no longer working, someone broke in and painted graffiti all over the walls, or the artwork you negotiated in the deal is no longer there, you don’t want to be stuck with those issues once the home is officially yours. If you find that you are, at least be prepared and remember that there is often a solution.
Typically, the walk-through is scheduled 24 hours prior to the closing date. At times, I’ve had clients insist on doing the walk-through just an hour before closing. Most of the time this works out without any new problems coming being identified but does not provide sufficient time if a new problem were to rise. Remember that if you do run into any issues, it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Communicate with your agent, who will bring the issues to the seller. It may push the closing back by a few days, but it gives the seller time to resolve all problems and come up with a plan. This plan often results in a credit to the buyer depending on everyone’s time frame. If time is not an issue, it may be best to wait until the property is completely delivered in the condition you previously agreed to purchase it in. Until all expectations are met, your agent will likely advise that you don’t sign the walk-through as being satisfied.
Ideally, the only parties present should be the buyer and the buyer’s real estate agent. Work with your real estate agent to schedule the walk-through when you know the home will be vacant. Touring the home when the seller is present can be distracting and cause you to miss minor issues. This is also not the time to invite any friends or family members to tour the home for the first time. YOU are the one purchasing this home, and this is your last time to inspect the property freely without any outside pressure or opinions.
Going into the final walk-through, it’s always best to have a checklist for what you are looking for. If you have any agreed-upon repairs, include those, along with the inspection report where the issues are identified. If you negotiated any furniture or artwork to convey, you likely signed an addendum inventorying each item. Bring that with you and check it off as you walk through. If the utilities are still on, your real estate agent will probably suggest turning on all the lights, starting the dishwasher, running the garbage disposal, running all sinks, showers, and bathtubs, and flushing all the toilets. All in all, be sure to confirm that all agreed-upon repairs have been made, everything that should be there is there, anything that shouldn’t be there is not, and everything that was working before is still working as it was. Until next week, be prepared and reconsider skipping that walk-through!
Eve Leombruno, 2023 MBOR President