Once you sign the contract, it’s assumed that you agree to purchase the home in the condition it’s currently in. So, the final walk-through before closing is your last chance to double-check that the property is in acceptable condition before you it’s officially yours. Here is a look at everything you should be sure to check for during the final walk-through.
- Inspection Repairs
- Belongings Moved In or Out
- Locks and Windows
- Electricity and Outlets
- Backyard and Outdoors
The first thing you should look for during the final walk-through before closing is any repairs that were required after the inspection. By this point, you should have already hired a licensed inspector who will be able to spot any potential problems with the home. If there are any issues, you can request to have the seller repair them before the closing or ask for credit so you can fix them yourself. So, if any last-minute repairs were the responsibility of the seller, the final walk-through before closing is the time to verify that they had been made.
The final walk-through is also a good time to ensure the seller has moved all of their belongings out of the home. The walk-through is typically conducted within 24 to 48 hours of the closing. So, the seller should have already moved their belongings, unless you came to some other arrangement. Plus, if there are any of your belongings that need to be delivered before you move in, now is the time to be sure they’ve arrived.
Next, you’ll want to ensure that the home is safe and secure before you move in. So, you should check all the windows and door locks to be sure that everything is functioning properly. You won’t receive the keys until the contracts are signed. But the keys should be made available so you can gain access to the property.
It’s also smart to check the appliances and make sure everything is in working order. For example, if the refrigerator is leaking or the oven doesn’t work, it’s essential to address these issues with the seller before you close, in case you have to request a credit to repair them. Plus, it’s also important to be sure that the seller didn’t take any fixtures with them that are supposed to transfer ownership along with the property.
Another thing to look out for during the final walk-through before closing is the presence of any mold. The inspector should have alerted you if there is a serious mold problem in the home. But sometimes, these things slip through the cracks or may have grown since the inspection. So, it’s important to keep your eyes out for any signs of unwanted fungus.
Next, you should check the electricity is turned on and make sure that all the outlets work. If a light switch is broken or an outlet doesn’t work, this may be a sign of a more serious electrical problem, which should be brought to the seller’s attention before the closing.
Also, be sure to check any outdoor areas for forgotten belongings or other potential issues. This also means checking that any railings, fences, or bushes are in good condition as well. It can be easy to focus only on the home’s interior and forget to look outside. But if there are any potential issues with the yard, such as leftover patio furniture, broken fences, or even a sinkhole, it’s important to bring it to the attention of the seller.
Finally, you should keep an eye out for any evidence of pests, such as mice, termites, bedbugs, or flies. Decayed wood or rodent droppings are a good sign that there may be a pest problem. They may have made their way into the home since the seller moved out, especially if they have been gone for a while. So it’s vital to double-check during the final walk-through before closing that you don’t have any unwanted roommates.
The final walk-through before closing is typically attended by the buyer and the buyer’s agent, along with any family members or other parties who may also be moving into the home. It’s unusual for the seller or the seller’s agent to be present during the final walk-through because it may put pressure on the buyer. The buyer should have the ability to look for potential issues without being rushed or influenced by the seller. But, any potential problems discovered during the walk-through can be brought to the seller’s attention or the seller’s agent before the final closing.
The final walk-through will occur after the seller has moved out, as close to the closing as possible. Typically, that will be within 48 hours of the contracts being signed. The closer to the actual closing, the better, because if it happens too far in advance, new problems may arise. Say, for instance, there is a serious storm right before the closing, and the roof is damaged. The buyer may sign the contract without knowing about this new development. So, the final walk-through should be right before the closing, so the buyer knows exactly what condition the property is in before signing the contracts.
It’s up to the buyer how long they want to take to inspect the property. If the inspection revealed minimal problems, it might only take 15-30 minutes for the buyer to double-check that no new problems have arisen. But, if it’s a larger property, or if the inspection revealed serious issues that required repair, it could last several hours. If new problems are revealed during the final walk-through, and they’re serious, the closing may have to be delayed until they are fixed. In that case, a second final walk-through may be necessary to ensure those issues have been remedied.
If new issues are discovered during the final walk-through before closing, you should bring it to the attention of the seller or seller’s agent to work out a solution. If the issues are minor, you may want to just make a mental note to take care of it yourself, rather than risk jeopardizing the deal. But if the issues are more serious, you can either request that the seller make additional repairs or ask for a credit to do them yourself. In this case, it may be necessary to reschedule the closing to ensure that the proper repairs are made before you sign the contract.