Final Walk-Through for Buyers
You have found a home and the closing date is rapidly approaching, it may seem that you don’t have any other responsibilities other than packing up your home moving out. However, you still have things to do to make sure closing isn’t derailed at the final moment.
Within a couple of days of closing, buyers will have the opportunity to perform a walk-through or verification of property conditions. It is during the walk-through that the buyer makes sure the agreed-upon repairs have been completed. After a home inspection, the buyer may negotiate home repairs with the seller. The walk-through is when the buyer can determine that the repairs have been completed.Final Walk-Through for Buyers | 10 Important Steps to TakeClick To Tweet
What to Bring to a Walk-Through?
It is important to be prepared for the final walk-through. It is recommended you bring the following items:
- Purchase agreement: The purchase agreement will detail what should be included and what should not be included with the home purchase. For example, if you requested the washer/dryer and stand-alone refrigerator, those would be detailed in the contract. Those items that are not built-in are not considered fixtures in real estate.
- Home inspection report: It is a good idea to bring the inspection report in the event you notice some that were not noted in the inspection report.
- Agreed upon request for repairs: It is strongly recommended to bring the request for repairs. That way you can go over each item and check them off the list to ensure the repairs have been completed.
- Notepad: In addition to the above documentation, a notepad is recommended to write any questions or observations as they arise.
- iPhone or cell phone: You can also use the notes feature on your iPhone to write down notes. Utilize your phone to take pictures of any items in the home.
- Your real estate agent: It is important to have your agent accompany you on the verification of property condition or walk-through. This is a reasonable expectation of your real estate agent as part of the home buying process.
- Walk-through checklists: Have a checklist prepared when you perform the verification of property conditions.
- MLS printout with photos: Be sure to bring the original photos from the listing to ensure all the fixtures in the property are the same.
What is a Walk-Through?
The home that a buyer has made an offer on should be in the same condition as when the offer was originally made. During the walk-through, the buyer along with their real estate agent will walk through the property. The buyer will ensure the property has been cleaned out and is free of debris. One of the considerations is to make sure there is no new damage to the home. A home buyer should absolutely participate in the final walk-through on a home.
Ideally, the seller will act in good faith and produce receipts for any work on the repairs for the property. The buyer can verify the repairs have been completed to their satisfaction.
Buyers will get the opportunity to do the final walk-through on the home just prior to it closing escrow. This will normally happen after the seller has moved out all of their possessions, however, that is not always the case.
Utilize a Final Walk-Through Checklist
Create a walk-through checklist from the request for repairs. Have a list ready of the things you need to reference during the walk-through. These lists should include items that the seller has agreed to leave behind as part of the sale such as appliances and light fixtures.
It is not unheard of for sellers to switch costly fixtures and replace them with cheaper items from Home Depot. If a seller wants to keep item from the home, that needs to be disclosed up front and in the MLS. If you are not sure, that is the reason to bring along the listing photos.
Ask the sellers for receipts of the completed repairs. Additionally, ask for original warranties on appliances that are left at the home.
Has the Seller Moved Out All Their Possessions?
In most cases, the seller will have already moved out before the walk-through. When a property is vacant, it is easier to see the items that have been repaired.
Check every single room to ensure that they have left the things they are supposed to and in the original condition. It is also a good idea to make sure they have not left anything behind. Check the garage, interior closets, attic space, and sheds.
If a seller is not moving out right away because they negotiated a rent back, then you will be performing a walk-through with the seller in place. In some cases, the seller isn’t going to move out until the closing day, or they might be staying on a little bit longer if this has been agreed to with the buyer.
Sometimes sellers will leave behind the paint. If it is not something you want in the event you are going to be re-touching or repainting a room in the home, the buyer does not want it. This is the seller’s responsibility to get rid of old paint. It is easy enough to recycle at a paint store!Final Walk-Through for Buyers | 10 Important Steps to TakeClick To Tweet
A buyer should not miss the last opportunity to view the home one last time before it closes escrow.
If you do find there are issues or something wrong, you can have some options to have the items repaired.
About the Author
Top Newport Beach Realtor Sharon Paxson has written the real estate article “Final Walk-Through for Buyers | 10 Important Steps to Take”. 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.