For everyone involved in the sale of a home the final walk through can be a nerve wracking experience. Fresh damages or faulty repairs discovered at the walk through can undo months of hard work This is why a good final walk through checklist is so crucial.
We put together this comprehensive final walk through checklist to ensure that your final walk throughs go as smoothly as possible. If you’d rather download the checklist as a fillable spreadsheet, click here. Below the checklist, we’ll go over a set of best practices you need to know before your final walkthrough.
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10-Step Final Walk Through Checklist
1. Agreed Upon Repairs
Make sure that all agreed upon repairs are completed professionally and thoroughly. If your seller agreed to make repairs to the home as a term of your closing make sure they are completed professional and thoroughly. If you are not well versed in construction, having a certified home inspector with you at the walk through might end up saving you thousands of dollars.
Of all the home systems, plumbing tends to have the highest rate of failure, and is also very expensive to fix. You should test the plumbing extensively during your walk through.
- Do all faucets still work?
- Does the hot water come on quickly enough?
- Let the water run for at least a minute. Is there any sputtering or rust colored water?
- Run the hot water for at least 5 minutes. Does it stay hot? Rapid changes between hot and cold? Sputtering?
- Do the faucets still drip when shut off? For how long?
- Check the pipes under the sinks for new leaks
- Check the hot water heater and any exposed pipes in the basement for leaks after running the water for 5 minutes
- Check the toilets. Do they flush quickly? Don’t worry about “running” toilets as they can be fixed with a $17 kit.
- Partially fill the sinks and bathtub and let them drain. Do they drain quickly? Check under the sinks after draining to check for leaks.
- Make sure they’re still there! This may sound silly, but the homeowner or their movers may have decided to take a nice dishwasher or washing machine and swapped them out at the last minute. If the home was vacant, thieves could have broken in and stolen them. You should have a list of appliances and brands/model numbers to check against.
- Make sure they still work. Run the dishwasher and washing machine. Do they still work? Are they making loud noises or shuddering more than they were at inspection? Do the doors shut properly?
- Check for leaks. If you can, check for leaks behind the appliance where they are connected to the plumbing. Are there puddles of water around the appliance?
- Make sure they are in good condition and clean. Accidents happen when people are moving. Are there any new scratches or gouges on the front of the appliances?
- Check all burners on the stove and see if the oven still works
- Test the range hood exhaust fan
- Test the garbage disposal
4. HVAC Systems
- Turn on heat and AC and make sure all registers blow hot/cold air
- Set a temperature when you arrive and check each room with a thermometer to see how close it gets
5. Moving Damages
- Check wood and linoleum floors for new deep scratches (not normal wear and tear) and check tile floors for new cracking or stains.
- Check walls (especially behind doors) for holes, scratches, marks, or cracks in sheetrock or plaster
- Make sure all doors open and close without scraping the floor
- Check for broken or cracked windows or glass doors
- Check for broken or missing screen doors
- Test all outlets with your outlet tester or a multimeter
- Test all light switches (including dimmers) and fan switches
- Test all light fixtures
- Test the circuit breakers by turning them off then on again- They should be stiff. If they are too loose you might need to replace the breaker.
- Check porch/driveway lights
7. Homeowner’s Belongings
If your contract stipulates that the home should be free from all the homeowners personal items the make sure they are all cleared out. You should remember to check:
- The garage
- The attic
- The yard and any outbuildings
8. The Front, Back, and Side Yards
- Make sure all outdoor lights and outlets work
- Make sure the pool filter, hot tub controls etc work as they did during inspection
- Look for badly damaged landscaping, uprooted bushes etc
- Make sure gates for fences open and close properly or as they did during inspection
9. The Exterior
- Look for newly broken shingles, siding, or paving stones that could have been damaged during the move
- Visually inspect the gutters and downspouts for new damage
- If it rained recently, look for pools of water along the edge of the wall, or in front of basement windows
This will largely depend on your contract, but even if your contract does not stipulate the home be “broom cleaned” for the closing, you should still look for major cleanliness issues. Extremely dirty or stained walls from movers for example can mean an expensive painting job.
What to Do if You Find Issues
While the whole point of a final walk through is to find issues that change the value of the home, you need to carefully consider the savings of having the seller pay to fix an issue vs potentially delaying your closing. If the sellers balk at paying for a repair, will lawyers get involved? Always remember your fiduciary duty to your client and do what is in their best interest.
Final Walk Through Best Practices
Schedule your final walk through at least 12 hours before your closing
While you want to schedule your walk through as close to your closing as possible, don’t try and schedule for the morning of your closing. This is especially true for large homes or deals where extensive repairs are agreed upon in your contract. You want to give yourself enough time so your walk through isn’t rushed, as well as allow you to agree on any concessions should you discover any problems.Using our final walk through checklist will mean much less stress and confusion the day of the walk through.
Don’t forget your flashlight
Even if you schedule your final walk through for a sunny spring day, you should still bring your flashlight. You may have to peer under sinks, check behind the boiler in the basement etc.
Schedule at least an hour for your walk through
Even if you don’t have a long checklist of repairs to examine or a very large house to walk through, always schedule more time that you think you’ll need. If you do discover a problem, you will need time to document it, and consult with a professional to see how much the damage will cost to repair.
Consider bringing a certified inspector to the final walk through
While a certified inspector may be overkill for small condos or brand new homes, having one with you can never hurt. Inspectors are more qualified to inspect repair work, or determine if home systems are in the same condition as their original inspection. Most home inspectors will charge a lower rate for a walk through. Instead of buying an expensive closing gift, you might want to consider paying for an inspector for the walk through.
When to be extra vigilant
If you are buying a home in a flood prone area or the home has a history of leaks, you should be extra vigilant and spend more time on your final walk through. If the home is vacant, there is a possibility that floods or leaks could have significantly damaged the home.
Bring an outlet tester or multi meter
If you decide not to bring your home inspector, you should at least bring an outlet tester so you can determine if the outlets are working and wired properly. You can get a great outlet tester for less than $10 on Amazon.
Bring extra light bulbs
Burnt out lightbulbs will make it very difficult to test light fixtures. An inspector can test switches with a multimeter, but unless you have electrical experience this is not something we recommend. To change burnt out bulbs you can keep a light bulb changer in your car.
Don’t skip the final walk through even for new construction
Bob Sisson, a certified home inspector from Maryland said it best; “Built to code does not mean built best”. Over on his website he has an excellent checklist of issues to look for in a new construction home. How many would you have noticed?
Bring your paperwork
You should bring your original inspection report, your contract, and any receipts for repairs provided by the homeowner.
Remember that there are large sums of money and possibly months of work on the line. You have a fiduciary responsibility to represent your client’s interests, but at the end of the day, delaying the closing to negotiate a very minor repair may not be in their best interests.
The Bottom Line
While the final walk through may not be the most important part of your transaction, you should still take it seriously. There is a lot that can wrong with a house from the time between your inspection and final walk through. Use our final walk through checklist to make sure you catch any potential issues. Your client will notice!