You have found the perfect house and now it’s time to sign the final paperwork. Congratulations! However, before you head into closing, it is essential that you take one final home walkthrough inspection to ensure everything has been taken care of and no major issues were missed prior to taking ownership.
My final home walkthrough checklist includes everything you want to examine one last time with your real estate agent, for your peace of mind, before closing.
Step 1: Be Prepared
Before you step foot into your future home for your final walkthrough, ensure you have everything you need with you in your Walkthrough Survival Kit for the trip. Here are the must-have items to have with you:
- Your real estate agent/realtor (always keep them at your side)
- Your contract of sale
- Your inspection summary and any warranties/repair receipts
- Your cell phone and list or preprogram numbers you might need
- Your inspector
Step 2: Review All Post-Inspection Repairs
In this step, you will review all items that were identified as needing attention in your Inspection Summary. If you can have your inspector on hand for this process, that would be best, as he/she will be able to point out where things are up-to-code or where corners were cut that shouldn’t have been.
Step 3: Cleanliness and Move-out Damage
Now that the previous owners have moved out, it’s time to assess the situation. Let’s take a look to make sure that the house was left in a clean and orderly state and that no major damage was done during their move out. Make sure you check everywhere, including the garage, attic, outdoor shed, and basement.
Spend ample time reviewing the kitchen and all bathrooms as both areas are prime locations for small damages and plumbing issues. Take some time to inspect appliances, plumbing, and faucets as well.
If you do spot damage, make a note of it and if it’s significant, ask that it either be fixed prior to closing or that a contingency plan/retribution be offered as part of the closing agreement.
Step 4: Inspect Doors and Windows
As you’re going through each room of the house, take time to carefully inspect all doors and windows. You’re looking for leaks in the seals, doors that are off hinges, locks that don’t work, and windows that stick or don’t open.
It might seem silly, but fixing these type of issues once you move in can be a time-consuming hassle.
Step 5: Test the HVAC and Sprinkler Systems
Next on your list is to fully test the HVAC and sprinkler systems. To test the HVAC, turn on the heat and go room-to-room to ensure that it’s heating as it should; then, do the same for the air conditioning.
Unless it’s winter and the sprinkler system has been shut down for the season, go ahead and test out the sprinklers. If it has been shut down and flushed out already, add a contingency to your closing that will help cover any costly repairs that might already be there that you could get stuck with post close.
Step 6: Thoroughly Inspect the Electrical System
Following the same principles, as we defined with the HVAC and sprinkler systems, you should do a detailed inspection of your electrical system prior to closing and identify any issues that might have been previously overlooked. Here is a list of items you can focus on in your review:
- All electrical outlets (if there is a reset, make sure it functions)
- Circuit breaker or breaker box
- All light switches
- The doorbell
- The security system and fire alarms
- Garage door operating system (interior wall mount, outside code mount, and handheld openers)
- Outdoor lighting
Step 7: Exterior Walk About
Finally, you should go outside to walk your property and examine the condition of both the outside of the house and the yard itself. Be on the lookout for missing or damaged siding, cracks in pavement or pavers, gutter damage, or rickety/rotted wood on decks and gazeboes.
Final Home Walkthrough Outcome
Once you’ve completed your final walkthrough, sit down with your inspector and real estate agent and put together your plan. Identify items that must be fixed before closing, items that can be covered via a line item or addendum to the closing documentation, and items that are super small and you are willing to cover yourself.
Once you’ve established your list and you are comfortable with what you’re asking for, your real estate agent will handle it for you and you’ll be able to relax knowing that you’ll be walking into closing with things in perfect order.
Have more questions on what to look for during your final home inspection walkthrough? Contact me and I’ll help you through the entire process!