This is a very exciting time! You are so close to owning your new home! At this point you’re thinking about packing, moving logistics, and a myriad of details that will all come together ultimately bringing you to your new home. But there’s one more detail before closing day that needs your attention. It’s the final walkthrough of the home you’re purchasing. Many homebuyers breeze through the final walkthrough without paying close attention to this last chance to make sure everything is right. At Borders and Borders we know that can be a costly mistake, so we’ve provided a few tips below to help you successfully navigate your final walkthrough to give you the peace of mind you need to move on to closing day.
The first step is to get prepared
Your final walkthrough is designed to give you the confidence you need to go to closing knowing that your new home is in the condition you expect, and that any repairs or requests that were agreed upon by the seller have been properly executed.
You should do your walkthrough before closing day, but not too far in advance if at all possible. Doing a walkthrough too early may cause you to miss issues that might arise in the time between the walkthrough and closing.
Prepare for your walkthrough by getting a few items in order before you go including:
Pen and paper
Offer documents with any contingencies that were listed
Make a checklist of items you know you want to inspect
Schedule your real estate agent to attend
That last item, scheduling your real estate agent to attend, can be very helpful. He or she will be very familiar with the process and can answer any questions you may have or lend advice when needed.
Know what you need to check
The most important thing to keep in mind is that this is the time to confirm that any requests you made concerning issues with the home have been addressed properly by the seller. If you see things that still need to be addressed, or you have questions, be sure to make note of them and record photos or video so that they can be communicated back to the seller’s agent. Use your checklist checking-off items that you knew you wanted to inspect prior to your walkthrough to be sure you don’t miss anything.
Some items you should be sure to check include:
HVAC system – Your heating, ventilation and cooling system is an important (and expensive) part of your home. You want to make sure it’s working properly checking both the heat and air conditioning no matter what time of year your walkthrough is happening.
Kitchen - Turn on all of the appliances to make sure they’re working properly. Check the garbage disposal, hot and cold running water, and look for any water damage or active leaks.
Bathrooms – Run hot and cold water in sinks, tubs and showers to make sure each is working properly, and check for leaks or water damage. Look for cracked or damaged tile. Flush toilets and let them refill, as you look for water damage or leaks that might be active.
Windows and Doors – Broken or leaky seals around windows can often be detected by seeing moisture inside of windows. Also check for cracks or window breakage. Make sure screens are not damaged and that they are all present. You should also check to see if windows and doors all open and close properly, and check for damage from moisture around doors.
Electrical – Check the lights and each room switching them on and off. An easy way to check electrical outlets are functioning is to plug your phone charger into each of them with your phone attached to see if the charging indicator goes on and off.
Washer and Dryer – Allow the washer and dryer to run a full cycle while you check on other items around the house. Check back periodically to make sure they are cycling properly and that there are no leaks present. Check to be sure there is a dryer screen.
What to do if you find problems
Every home, especially ones that are not new construction, will have a blemish or two, so think about the extent of any issues you may discover. Major leaks or broken appliances will probably warrant bringing to the seller’s attention. A ding in the woodwork by the backdoor probably does not need to be reported. It’s up to you to decide what is important and what you can live with. Deciding what is worth delaying closing over and the things that are really important to you will help determine what the right course of action may be.
Use your time well
Keep in mind that the final walkthrough is a time for you to make sure you don’t have any unwanted surprises after closing on your new home. Take your time and be thorough. This is the last chance to make sure things are right, and then you can close with confidence. For more information about purchasing your new home, the process, and what to expect at closing, contact Borders and Borders. We’re here to help.