Your final walk through makes sure the home is in good shape when it becomes yours.
Your final walk through is your last home buying task before you officially become the owner. There are a couple of big reasons to take it very seriously. First, if the seller made repairs after your home inspection, this is your chance to check them out. Also, you’ll want to make sure the house is exactly the way you expect it to be when you buy it. There’s a lot to keep track of, so it’s smart to bring along a final walk through checklist to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
1. Bring all the essentials.
Before you head out, make sure you carry these items with you:
- Your final contract. Your contract will note what should and should not be in the house when you buy it, like appliances and shelving.
- Notepad. In addition to your final walk through checklist, you’ll want plenty of paper to jot down any questions or observations as they arise.
- Phone. Use your phone to take pictures of anything you want to make a record of.
- Phone charger. Sure, you don’t want your phone to die, but more importantly, the charger could come in handy if you need to confirm that the electrical outlets are functional.
- Inspection summary. It’s important to double-check that all repairs have been completed as promised.
- Your real estate agent. Your agent is like a human final walk through checklist. They’ve done this dozens of times, so they can answer questions and guide you through the process.
2. Verify final repairs.
Before looking at anything else, double-check that all repairs stated on the inspection summary have been completed, and that the seller has left behind warranties and receipts for the work. If something breaks, you’ll want to be able to follow up with the person or company that made the repairs.
3. Check for all items included in the sale.
This is where the purchase agreement you entered after making your offer comes into play. It will state what is included in the sale, from window blinds to appliances. The seller should already be moved out before you come over with your final walk through checklist so you can make sure everything you expect to be there when you move in is indeed there. This will also help you ensure all garbage and construction debris from repairs are gone, and the property has been left clean and damage-free.
4. Open windows and doors.
You definitely want to make sure your home is safe and secure before you move in. Check all window latches and door locks. You’ll also need to note if any window screens are missing, or if any of the windows are broken or stick when opening, which could be a fire hazard.
5. Carefully inspect the bathrooms.
Make sure the bathrooms are free from mold, water damage, and standing water by the sink, shower, and base of the toilet. Mold can spring up in a matter of days, so even if you didn’t notice any during your inspection, it’s worth a close look. Also, test the toilets and make sure they aren’t running. Turn on all the faucets (including the showerhead) and verify that they have hot water, don’t spray water, and don’t leak when turned off. All sinks and tubs should drain properly and quickly.
6. Review the condition of the kitchen, too.
Check for the same signs of mold or water damage in the kitchen—paying careful attention to areas under the sink, by the dishwasher, and by the refrigerator.
7. Test all the appliances.
While you’re in the kitchen, start checking appliances. Make sure the oven heats up (without smelling like gas) and the dishwasher can run a full cycle. Then head to the laundry room to turn the washer and dryer on and off. If there is a utility sink, fill it and make sure it drains properly. If there are any other appliances in the house, make sure to catch them, too.
8. Try out the heating and air conditioning.
Even if it’s a 90-degree day when you enter with your final walk through checklist in hand, turn on the heat and make sure it’s working. Do the same with the air conditioning.
9. Test the electrical system.
Check electrical systems by turning lights on and off and looking at all outlet plate covers to make sure they’re free of damage. Then plug your phone into all outlets and confirm that they’re all working. If not, you may have a deeper problem with electrical wiring that you’ll definitely want to sort out before closing on the house. Also, verify that any doorbells, security systems, and garage doors work.
10. Tour the property.
Your home should look as expected on the outside, too—including the landscaping. Sellers have been known to dig up plants in their yard during move-out (really!). Once you’re satisfied with the landscape, test out everything outside that should be functioning, from irrigation systems to gates.
11. Look for signs of pests.
Make sure no little critters moved in after the seller moved out. Dry rot, spongy floors, and crumbly timbers can all be signs of termites or other pests. Also, be sure to note any mouse droppings or other signs of little invaders.
After you’ve reached the end of your final walk through checklist, your real estate agent can help you decide what to do with your findings. Some issues may be big enough to present to the seller as items to fix before closing, and others may be good-to-know items for you to address the day you move in.
Speaking of moving in—it’s time to do it! We’ve got a moving checklist to help your big day go smoothly.