The purpose of a final walkthrough of a property is to check that it is either in the same condition as it was when you last saw it, eg. before going into contract or during the home inspection. If repairs were stipulated in the contract to be done prior to closing, it is also a chance to make sure that these were done correctly.
What the final walkthrough is NOT is another home inspection or a chance for you to go back to the negotiating table.
When does a final walkthrough usually take place?
A final walkthrough usually takes place just before the closing, usually on the morning of, or sometimes a few days before.
What should happen in a final walkthrough?
Sometimes buyers choose to do a cursory walkthrough themselves and as the name suggests, merely walk through the property without touching anything. It’s always a good idea to either have an agent with you or someone (or yourself) who is prepared to check the house is in good working order. This will involve doing the following:
- Walk around the entire property including the basement
- Open and close all doors
- Turn on and off every light fixture
- Test all appliances
- Run the garbage disposal and exhaust fans
- Run water and check for leaks under the sinks
- Flush the toilets
- Inspect ceilings, walls and floors
- Test the heating and air conditioning
- Open and close windows
- Check for cleanliness, eg. all furniture and debris removed, broom swept and cleaned
- Make sure that everything that is meant to stay (appliances, light fixtures etc.) are there
What happens when a walkthrough discovers something is broken?
It’s always a good idea to have your agent attend your walkthrough with you because they can quickly address certain issues with the seller’s agent. The goal is not to delay the closing. If there is a minor leak, the cost of a plumber can be deducted from the settlement charges and the closing can continue.
However, if something more substantial is discovered, such as a broken sewer line, this may, unfortunately, cause the closing to be delayed while the damage is assessed and an estimate given. Although the home inspection may have missed this, it could be argued that the damage occurred after the inspection in which case the seller should be willing to give the buyer a credit for the repair.
What happens when the home is occupied during a walkthrough?
Sometimes a house will be occupied when it is being sold. This is the case with rental properties or when the seller cannot vacate the property on the closing date because their next accommodation is not ready. When this has been negotiated as part of the closing, it’s not always a bad idea to insist that the residents are present during the walkthrough. It gives the buyer a chance to ask questions and see the house being used and occupied.