Final Walk Through – What Is It and Why Is It Important
There can frequently be confusion of what a final walk through is and why it’s important. A final walk through can also be referred to as a pre-closing inspection. The final walk through is not a home inspection. In most cases the buyer will have a home inspection contingency that’s already been fulfilled as part of the contract. The final walk through shouldn’t be an appointment that takes a few hours like a home inspection but, it’s also not something that just takes a few minutes.
What Is A Walk Through?
A final walk through is the opportunity the buyer has to verify the property condition prior to going to settlement. Its purpose is to ensure that any agreed-upon repairs have been made and that the property is in substantially the same condition as it was when the purchase agreement was made or at the home inspection depending on which the contract specifies.
What Should You Bring?
Bring a copy of your contract and the home inspection report. If any repairs were negotiated in the home inspection contingency removal addendum bring that as well. Having the contract to refer to will allow you to verify that all items that were agreed upon to convey are present in the house. If repairs had been agreed to having the addendum will allow you to verify they were completed. I recommend requesting repair receipts be provided as well, something your agent should have obtained from the seller's agent to provide to you. Your agent should also bring all of the above documents for you but, it’s best to be prepared in case they don’t.
Bring A Checklist
This is quite possibly the most important part of the final walk through. A great real estate agent will also bring a checklist. In Virginia, we have a standard form to complete for our buyers and it’s something every agent should do. What should be checked? Here are several items that should be looked at during the final walk through.
* Walk the exterior and look at the roof, siding, brick, stone, fence, patio, chimney or anything other exterior features the home may have. You want to make sure no damage has occurred.
* Check exterior and interior light fixtures. If one doesn’t appear to be working try replacing the bulb. A great agent will have a lightbulb on hand to test with. Verify the light fixtures are not only still in place but, are the same fixtures as when you made the offer.
* Look at the windows and doors to verify there’s no cracked or broken glass.
* Turn on the heat or air (depending on what season it is). This is something that I do when I first go into a home. If its heat, turn it up a bit and if it’s AC down a bit to make sure you see a change in temperature while you conduct the rest of the walk through.
* Check any appliances that are included in the sale. If a dishwasher and washer are included they’re something I also turn on right when I arrive for a walk through. They can cycle while my buyers and I go through the rest of the house.
* Turn on the water at each faucet to ensure it’s working properly and check for leaking pipes under sinks and leaking bathtubs/showers. Also, check for hot water, that will indicate the water heater is functioning. Flush the toilets as well.
* Check to make sure the seller has left the home broom clean. The term broom clean can be interpreted in different ways. Storage areas should be cleaned out, there should be no garbage or personal belongings left behind. If there are items in the home that shouldn’t have been left they should be removed prior to closing. This, of course, doesn’t apply if the buyer and seller have mutually agreed on certain items remaining with the home.
* If there were items that were agreed upon to be repaired as part of the home inspection contingency removal check to make sure they have been done. Again, a good buyer’s agent will have obtained receipts from the listing agent in advance to provide to the buyer as documentation.
Why Is The Final Walk Through Important?
The final walk through isn’t a contingency in the contract but, it is the final step to in the home buying process before closing and not something that should be overlooked. If problems arise during the final walk through it’s important they are addressed quickly. If everything goes well it’s common for agents to have their client sign a walk through form acknowledging one was completed and that they’re satisfied.