Interactive Final Walkthrough Checklist
What is a final walk through?
Did you know that in Central Virginia, the CVR MLS purchase agreement allows the purchaser to perform one final inspection, before settlement, to ensure the property is in the same condition as when you first saw it, that all agreed upon repairs were made, and that all major systems and components are still working?
Here is what it says:
E. EQUIPMENT CONDITION AND INSPECTION: Purchaser agrees to accept the Property at settlement in its physical condition at the time the Date of Ratification by all parties, except as otherwise provided herein. Seller warrants that all appliances, heating and cooling equipment, plumbing systems and electrical systems will be in working order at the time of Settlement or at Purchaser’s occupancy, whichever occurs first. Seller agrees to deliver the Property in broom-clean condition and to exercise reasonable and ordinary care in the maintenance and upkeep of the Property between the date this Agreement is executed by Seller and Settlement or at Purchaser’s occupancy, whichever occurs first. Seller grants to Purchaser or his representatives the right to make a pre-occupancy or pre-settlement inspection to verify that the condition of the Property conforms to this Agreement and to ensure that repairs, if any, have been completed
Your real estate agent may call it a “final walkthrough”. A final walk through is essentially the last chance for a home buyer to make sure their new home is in the condition that they agreed to purchase it in.
Why do you need a final inspection if you had a home inspection?
There could be significant changes
Things change. A home inspection documents the condition of the home that were observed at the time of inspection. While it isn’t common, new issues can develop in the approximately thirty days from the time of inspection, to the day of closing.
HVAC systems for example may work at the beginning of the summer, but an older system may fail after thirty days of working hard to keep the house cool. That is why it is a good idea to check the heating and cooling during a final walk through.
Sellers can be dishonest
Personal property could have also hid defects from the home inspector. I personally had a situation where the home sellers placed a trash can right over some water damage.
Many times the sellers are still living in the property and can cause new damage during normal living, or during the move.
Sellers sometimes don’t read and/or understand the purchase contract. They may take things like window treatments, or kitchen appliances that were included in the home purchase.
To confirm repairs were made
Generally, after the home inspection, your buyer’s agent will discuss with you how to move forward with any significant issues, or required repairs. I can not tell you how many times I have shown up for a reinspection only to report that some, or none of the negotiated repairs had been completed.
You can review repair bills, receipts, and workmanship at the time of the final walk through. Obviously if its something you can’t confirm yourself, like something in the crawlspace, you’ll want to hire your home inspector to perform a reinspection as well.
Final Walk Through Checklist
The first thing you should do is turn on the air conditioning, or heater. These will need to run for several minutes to confirm they work. Obviously you won’t be performing a full inspection, but you’ll know if the system isn’t working at least.
The next thing you’ll want to do is turn on all the plumbing fixtures and let them run. Flush the toilets a few times. If there is a new leak, this is your last chance to catch it.
During the previous step, check the water heater. Run some hot water and make sure it gets hot.
Confirm that all the included appliances are present and working. Don’t forget the garbage disposal.
If there is an overhead garage door, make sure the garage door openers were left behind.
Now walk through the house and make sure all the lighting fixtures work, and everything is in overall good condition. Also make sure any window treatments or other agreed upon conveying property are still present.
Don’t forget the exterior of the home. Look for any new damage, or new problems.
If it is a new construction home, the final walk through is where you also note any cosmetic deficiencies that you are not happy with. Generally you walk around with blue tape and mark anything you want the builder to fix.
How Sellers Can Prepare for a Final Walk Through
I know when we move we have to line up a few things. We have to make sure we are closing on our new house, that we have the truck rented, that we have recruited helpers, and that we have a baby sitter all lined up.
Worst-case scenario is that the buyers find something wrong, closing is delayed, and all your reservations and appointments are ruined.
Make sure you completed all necessary repairs. A good tip is to leave copies of the receipts on the kitchen counter.
Make sure the house is clean. Most contracts require the seller to leave the home broom clean.
Don’t take any appliances that were listed in the purchase contract as conveying.
The Bottom Line
The final walk through, although not technically an official inspection, is your last visit to the property before closing, and the last opportunity before closing day to make sure the home is up to par. A productive and successful final walkthrough is the last step in your real estate transaction. Do not get to the closing table without doing it.