A final walk-through in a home purchase can be described as the final step in the home buying process, however, it is not a contingency of the sale.
What is a Walk-Through?
A final walk-through or verification of property condition is an inspection performed by the buyer prior to the close of escrow on a transaction. The purpose is to ensure that the property is in substantially the same condition as when the purchase agreement was made. This is also a time that agreed-upon repairs were made to the property were completed.
The walk-through or verification of property is NOT a contingency of the sale. Some buyers may forgo this step because they don’t feel it is necessary, however, it is important to complete this step.
Both the buyer and the seller should communicate about when the utilities are going to be transferred to avoid a reconnection fee. And if the natural gas gets turned off, a representative from the gas company generally has to come back out to the property to light the pilot lights in the property.
What to Bring to the Walk-Through?
Buyers should bring a copy of the purchase agreement to ensure that items requested to be included with the home sale are included with the home. Additionally, bring a copy of the home inspection report and the executed repair request to ensure that negotiated repairs (if any) have been completed.
Personal Property Not Included
It is a fairly common final walk-through issue is when a piece of personal property is not present. An example of this might be the refrigerator or washer/dryer. It is possible that a seller forgot to leave the item as requested or the movers were not instructed to leave the items so they packed them up and to go to their new destination.
Vacant homes that have been vacant for an extended period of time may have issues and it is even more imperative that buyers conduct a final walk-through. Problems tend to arise when homes sit vacant for any period of time. There can be plumbing issues that arise when a property sits vacant. If there is a water leak which goes undetected, a buyer can find that their home flooded which can result in mold issues as well.
When the seller possessions are moved out, any defects may stand out. It will be easier for buyers to recognize damages they may have overlooked during their initial inspections.
Sellers Haven’t Moved Out!
During the final walk-through, a buyer may find that the seller has not moved out of the property, and their possessions are still in place. Contractually, all items need to be removed from the home. And all debris such as stored lumber, old tile, old paint etc (unless requested by buyer) shall be removed from the property. It is not the buyer’s obligation to remove the seller’s items.
Sometimes sellers don’t move out until the day the transaction closes or even a few days after which can be requested in the purchase agreement. In situations such as this, then a buyer may be conducting a final walk-through in the presence of the seller. The seller is going to be aware of any nuances of the home. The timing of the sellers moving out can be negotiated in the purchase agreement.
Does the Home Have a Swimming Pool?
Be sure to check to make sure the pool equipment is operable, and you know how to utilize it. Also, ask for the name of the pool contractor who maintained it if you want to continue to receive service.
Items to Check at the Walk-Through
One of the first and most important items is to ensure that the agreed-upon repairs have been completed. You can review those with your home inspection report and your repair request. Check light switches to make sure that they are operable. Turn all faucets on and off, check for hot water as well. If the gas has been turned off, obviously there will be no hot water. It is ideal to keep all utilities on until the close of escrow. Also, check the appliances in the kitchen, and run the garbage disposal as well.
Ideally, you will want to have the garage remotes and check that they are operable as well. In the bathrooms, flush the toilets, turn on the shower, and be sure to check exhaust fans as well.
Check out the HVAC in the home, if there is air conditioning, turn it on and make sure it is operable. Also, check the heat to make sure it is also operable! Open and close all windows and make sure there are no broken windows! Open and close all doors in the home as well.
Generally, inspect the property to make sure it is in the same condition as when the offer was made. You will want to make sure all the fixtures are still there!
In today’s times with everyone having a camera on their cell phone, it is possible to look at prior photos to make sure that the property is in the same condition.
Bring a checklist of items to check in the property, and as a home buyer, you will be assured that you have checked everything in the property. Your checklist may include the following items:
- Is the property cleaned out, and has the seller moved out?
- Is the property clean?
- Open and close all doors, test door handles and locks
- Check operation of the windows
- Turn on the heater and air conditioner if the property has AC.
- Run all faucets, look under cabinets to ensure there are no leaks. Check for hot water in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Flush the toilets
- Check the showers and drains, ensure there is good water flow.
- Verify operation of garbage disposal.
- Check all light switches, including ceiling fans. If there is a remote for a ceiling fan, ensure that it is operable.
- Check garage doors and remotes to ensure they are operable.
A final walk-through is the final step, and ideally, the sellers have completed the repairs on the property to the buyer’s standards. Checking out the items above will ensure that the buyer has satisfied themselves with the condition of the property. That way the buyer knows about the condition of the property and will avoid potential problems after it has closed escrow.
Find Other Valuable Resources for “What is the Final Walk-Through and Why It is Important!” from Real Estate Professionals Across the Country. Please check out the articles below, and please share across Social Media if you liked the articles.
What’s a Fixture versus Personal Property via Bill Gassett, Maximum Real Estate Exposure
Why Do Buyer’s Walk Away from Home Purchase via Michelle Gibson, Wellington FL Real Estate
Keep Your Eyes Open During the Walk-Through via Joe Boylan, Colorado Springs Real Estate
What is a Walk-Through via Kyle Hiscock, Rochester Real Estate
How to Prepare to be a Homeowner via Jamohl DeWald, Portland Real Estate
About the Author
The above real estate article “What is the Final Walk-Through and Why It is Important!” was written by Sharon Paxson of Newport Beach Real Estate. With experience since 2005 representing sellers, buyers, and landlords with their real estate transactions, we welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise and guide you through the home buying or selling process.
We service the following Orange County CA areas: Corona del Mar, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Orange, Santa Ana, Sunset Beach, Tustin and more! If you are considering selling your home, we welcome the opportunity to work with you and list your home with a top Newport Beach CA Realtor.