You have found a home that you love, made an offer, and the seller has accepted! At this point in time, you have had your home inspections done, the loan is being finalized and a closing date has now been set. Congratulations, you are almost a home owner! However, there is another step that you need to take, at least a week before closing, and that is the final walk-through of your home.
A final walk-through is not a home inspection. A final walk-through ensures that terms of your contract are met and that the property’s condition hasn’t changed since your last visit (besides changes arranged in the contract). If you have a more formal arrangement, you may need to sign a contract addendum to verify that you have completed the walk-through and that you are satisfied with the results.
According to Zillow.com, if you are purchasing a vacant home, it is highly recommended that you do a thorough walk-through. There is a possibility, for example, that somebody left a faucet dripping which could have led to water damage that may not have been present before. If the home is not vacant, the buyers and sellers almost never meet in person in most markets. However, if at all possible, try and have the walk-through done with the seller present. The seller will know the home better than anyone and can answer any questions and address any concerns that you have.
When you arrive for your final walk-through, make sure that you have your contract on hand, in case you need to refer to it. Also, it can be a little overwhelming, so you should bring along a check list of items to look for while on your walk-through. This way you are less likely to overlook anything.
Things to take note of initially:
- Are all items you’ve purchased with the house still present? If you had it written in your contract that a specific appliance, lamp, or item of furniture or artwork, would remain with the home then you need to make sure that it is still there.
- Has all personal property and unwanted items been removed according to the terms of your contract? Make sure no trash or unwanted furniture was left behind.
- Have all necessary repairs been made to your satisfaction? Check that everything that you agreed would be fixed upon home inspection has indeed been fixed.
- Have you received the associated warranties/bills for these repairs? Very important should something go wrong after you move in.
- Is the house clean overall?
- Is there any damage to the walls, floors or other areas caused by movers?
- Is there any visible pet damage to walls or floors?
- Are there any signs of mold or water damage (particularly near appliances and windows)?
- Are there signs of pest infestations (dry rot, spongy floors, crumbling timbers etc.)?
- Has there been any strong winds or rain storms since your last visit to the home? If so, look over the exterior of the home for any possible storm damage and things like drainage issues with gutters.
- Is the stove working (burners and oven)?
- Is the refrigerator working?
- Is the microwave working?
- Can the dishwasher complete a full cycle? Does it leak?
- Do the washer and dryer work properly?
- Is the garbage disposal working?
- Do you have the owner’s manuals for appliances and home systems (stove, microwave, refrigerator, washer and dryer, dishwasher, etc.)?
- Have the spaces been cleared out and emptied?
- Are there any signs of exposed plumbing?
- Are there any signs of pests?
- Are there signs of weather damage?
- Do all of the light switches and outlets work?
- Are any switch plate covers damaged or missing?
- Is there any exposed wiring?
- Does the doorbell work?
- Does the garage door open and close properly? Make sure the garage door openers work as well.
- Do the exhaust fans work in both the kitchen and bathroom?
- Do the ceiling fans work?
- Inspect the circuit breaker box. Are all the circuits labeled?
- Does the heating system work properly?
- Does the air conditioning unit work properly?
- Does the thermostat work?
- Do you have the owner’s manuals for the air-conditioning, heating, fireplace units, etc.?
- Is landscaping as you remembered? Sellers have been known to dig up and take plants (including small trees and bushes) with them.
- Do the sprinklers work? Make sure there are no signs of a leak.
- Is the roof in good repair?
- Are rain gutters clean and functioning?
- Do the toilets flush properly (do they run or leak)?
- Do the sinks, bathtubs and showers drain properly?
- Is the water pressure sufficient?
- Are there signs of leaking near faucets?
- Does the hot water run hot?
Water Damage and Mold
Water damage can occur at any time and mold can begin growing within 48 hours. So, even if your physical inspector did not find signs of mold or water damage, you should look for these during the final walk-through.
- Do the windows have signs of mold?
- Are there signs of mold or water damage under the kitchen sink?
- Are there signs of mold or water damage in the bathroom?
- Are there signs of mold or water damage around the refrigerator area?
- Are there signs of mold or water damage around the washer/dryer area?
- Are there signs of mold or water damage around the water heater?
- Are there any signs of condensation or fog near double-pane windows?
- Are any windows broken or missing screens?
- Are there any missing storm windows? If they’ve been stored, make sure you know where they are and that they’re in good shape.
- Do all windows open and close properly?
- Do all doors open and close properly?
- Do the locks and latches work?
When you are on your walk-through, be sure to address any concerns that you have with your real estate agent. When you communicate these problems you help make sure that you are compensated for any recent damage that may have occurred when the previous owners were moving out or any uncompleted repairs. Performing a final walk-through will help protect you from spending the first month or so in your new home dealing with unexpected repairs and cleaning. It is a time investment well spent.
If you have any questions about the home buying or selling process, Boise Real Estate Pros is happy to be of service. Please visit us online at http://boiserealestatepros.com/ or call us at 208-577-7777.