What to look for when doing a final walkthrough before closing

By Allstate

Last updated: January 1

When the process of purchasing a home is nearly complete, many buyers start focusing on other details such as packing up their belongings or looking at paint samples. However, there is one more crucial step to complete before closing on a house, and that's a final walkthrough. This is a homebuyer's last chance to walk around the property and make sure everything is in working condition, and that any previously agreed-upon repairs were completed, prior to signing on the dotted line. These tips can help you prepare for and complete a thorough walkthrough.

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How to prepare for a walkthrough

A final walkthrough may not only help you feel more confident about your purchase, but can also help you pinpoint any problems that should be taken care of before taking the keys to your new home. To avoid potential last-minute delays, buyers should aim to complete this crucial step prior to the day of closing, says Zillow. However, Realtor.com recommends that a homebuyer should not schedule it too far in advance, either. If you complete a walkthrough too early, you may risk the chance of new issues arising before you close on the sale of your home.

When your walkthrough date is approaching, prepare by packing a few items you may need during the process, recommends Trulia. Items such as a notepad and pen, a camera, cellphone, charger and a copy of your inspection report may come in handy. You should also make sure that your real estate agent can attend with you, notes Trulia. They are likely familiar with the process and can help answer any questions you may have.

What items to check

Remember that this is the time to pull out the home inspection report and confirm that any prior issues, if requested, were addressed. Be sure to take notes and photos of any issues you find so they can be reported back to the seller's real estate agent, if needed. It may be a good idea to prepare a checklist including the following areas, and any other specific items you know you may need to inspect, prior to the walkthrough so you don't forget to check any boxes, says Trulia. And, even if you're buying a brand-new home, it's a good idea to review its condition before closing.

Below are some general areas you should pay close attention to, according to Trulia.

  • Bathrooms: Turn on every sink, shower and bathtub to check for potential leaks and drainage issues. Be sure to run both the hot and cold water, as this may help you ensure the water heater is working. You should also flush the toilets and check for water leaks or damage near the base of the toilet.
  • Kitchen: Check or turn on each appliance to make sure they are in working order and keep an eye out for any signs of water damage near the sink or dishwasher. If the sink has a garbage disposal, you may want to check that it's working as well, says The Balance.
  • Washer and dryer: Run the washer and dryer and keep an eye out for water leaks or drainage issues with the washer. And, if the home has one, don't forget to check the utility sink.
  • Windows and doors: Make sure each one properly closes and opens, and, if they have screens, make sure none are missing or damaged. You should also check for signs of moisture or water damage around the window or door casings.
  • Electrical outlets: Turn the lights on and off in every room, and don't forget to pull out your cellphone and charger — plug it into various electrical outlets to help you ensure they're working by seeing if the phone starts charging.
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning System: No matter the temperature outside, run both the furnace and air conditioning unit to ensure both are in working condition.

How to address potential issues

Depending on the extent of any issues you may find during the walkthrough, you may want to report them back to the seller's real estate agent, says Realtor.com. For example, finding a major water leak is something you will probably want to address with the seller. Or, if any issues that were noted in the home inspection report were to be fixed prior to closing on the home, and they weren't, you may want to follow up. However, you may deem smaller issues, such as a scratch in the wood floor or a burned out light bulb, as minor problems that are not worth potential closing delays, notes Realtor.com. Take some time to reflect on any issues you've found, and any subsequent delays or implications that may result from addressing them, and determine the appropriate action for your specific situation.

Remember to take your time during a final walkthrough to help ensure you won't be greeted with any surprises after closing on your new home. Once this important step is complete, you'll soon be the proud owner of your new home. Congratulations! You can discover other helpful tips and tricks for your move on the Allstate Moving Center.