If you’re selling your home, the final walk-through is an important part of the process. But what is it, and are there any special considerations you should keep in mind?
In this column, you’ll learn what to expect, how to get prepared, and what you can do if there are any issues during your final walkthrough. Use this guide to help reduce stress and avoid any confusion as you finalize your real estate transaction!
What is the final walkthrough?
The final walkthrough occurs just a day or two before closing on the house. It allows the buyer to give the premises a last look over before completing the purchase.
It is typically done once the seller has already vacated the premises and takes around 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the property.
Should the seller be there?
The seller is not present at the final walkthrough, just the buyer and their agent.
Their real estate agent will sign out the keys and escort the buyer around the property. This way, they can inspect the house at their leisure without feeling any pressure from the seller or the seller’s agent.
What happens during a final walkthrough?
The main purpose of the final walkthrough is to enable the buyer to ascertain whether the property is in the same condition as when the purchase was agreed upon (with the exception of any previously agreed upon repairs).
As such, the buyer and their agent will look over the house and the surrounding areas. They will check for any signs of damage that may have occurred while the previous owners were moving or since.
They will also want to ensure that all appliances are in good working order and that the premises have generally been left in a clean and orderly state.
How can the seller prepare for the final walkthrough?
Prior to the walkthrough, the seller should do a final inspection of the house to resolve any remaining issues. This should include:
- Checking that light fixtures and fans are in good working order.
- Testing faucets and toilets to look for any signs of leaks.
- Trying out kitchen appliances, including the stove, washing machine, fridge, and garbage disposal.
- Using a small lamp or something similar to ensure all the electrical outlets are functioning.
- Running the heating, thermostat, and/or central air.
- Opening and closing all the doors and windows, and testing the locks on each.
- Inspecting the floors, walls, and ceilings for any sign of damage while moving and the external walls – especially if there has been any bad weather recently.
In addition, the seller should make sure that any manuals, pamphlets, or warranties for the appliances are left out, alongside the keys to any outbuildings.
Leave the name and numbers of any companies providing care, repair, or maintenance for the property, including landscapers and pool cleaners.
The house itself should be left ‘broom clean,’ meaning that it needs to be swept, vacuumed, and free of any clutter. Any attached outdoor spaces should likewise be tidy.
<blockquote>“We just got the call from our lawyer’s office telling us the sale of our house has just closed. Wow, we did it! Mary and I want to thank you again for all of your hard work during this process. Bill always had our best interests in mind and we never felt pressured to move in any direction that we weren’t comfortable with.” – Dwayne & Mary </blockquote>
No items of furniture or anything other personal belongings not considered a fixture of the house are to be left behind unless this was previously agreed upon with the buyer.
What happens if issues arise at this stage?
Common problems identified during the final walkthrough include negotiated repairs not being carried out, disputes caused because the seller took something that the buyer assumed would stay with the house and issues with how the property has been left.
Solutions to these issues may include the contract being renegotiated so that the seller provides credit for any necessary repairs, cleaning or appliance replacement or even some of the proceeds being held in an escrow account for this purpose.
The best way to avoid additional delays and expenses is for the seller to be fully aware of their responsibilities as per the purchase agreement. This document will detail any repairs to be made and items to be left behind as part of the purchase.