Is a final walk-through required?
Although the law does not require a final walk-through, it is in the buyer's best interest to do one. Buying a home is one of the largest financial investments a person makes, and attending a final walk-through should be a priority. For example, if a home is vacant and a storm rolls through a week before closing and floods the basement, this could cause a serious financial burden on the buyer if they skipped the final walk-through and never discovered this problem.
When does a final walk-through happen, and who should be there?
A final walk-through generally happens within one-to-two days of closing on the home. In most cases, the sellers moved out and the home should be empty. The buyer and buyer's agent are usually the only two people at the walk-through. If it is a new construction home, the builder or contractor may also be there.
What happens if a buyer finds something wrong with the home during the final walk-through?
What a buyer is able to do depends on any contingencies that were included in the purchase agreement. In most cases, if an issue arises during the walk-through, it can delay the closing until the seller fixes the issue, or a buyer can ask the seller to credit them at closing so they can fix the issue themselves. In an extreme case, it can completely derail the sale and a buyer can back out.
Communication is key during this process. Having your Realtor by your side during the walk-through will help tremendously, and they will be able to refer back to your purchase agreement and communicate any issues to the sellers agent.
Key things to look for during a final walk-through:
- Test all light switches & outlets
- Make sure all kitchen appliances are working
- Make sure all kitchen cabinets open/close correctly and shelving in intact
- Run the faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms to make sure both hot and cold water is working and check for any leaks
- Flush toilets
- Turn on bathroom fans
- Check to see that the landscaping is still in good condition and that any sprinkler or irrigation systems are working
- Test the HVAC system to ensure hot & cold air is coming through the vents
- Open windows and make sure they arent sticking or any screens are missing
- Make sure sellers didnt leave behind any debris/garbage
- Check garage door openers
- If any issues were discovered during the inspection, make sure those issues were resolved
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