What is a final walk-through? When all repairs are completed and the house is ready for the closing process, buyers often do a final walk-through of the house before signing the closing papers. While not mandatory, it is important to make sure everything is in working order on the seller’s part before the buyer buys the house. The final walk-through is the last time to ask questions and uncover any quirks that the house is hiding. Finding something now will save the buyer money in the future. Here are some important things to check out during the final walk-through.
Squeaky or sticky doors
Check everything in the house with a hinge: doors, cabinets, drawers, windows. Make sure they are all in working order, close fully, and don’t stick in the jamb. Squeaky hinges may be a sign of needing replacement or just WD-40. Get these little annoyances fixed before they become a problem.
Bring a phone charger and try to charge your phone with every outlet in the house. If one of them doesn’t work, it could be an indicator of a larger wiring issue, or it could be as simple as the outlet being controlled by a light switch. Either way, it pays to catch this kind of problem before moving in.
No matter what season it is, run the heater and air conditioning to make sure that they are in full working order. You would hate to be in the middle of winter before you realize that your furnace has a problem. Be sure to check each vent to make sure hot or cold air is coming out. If not, it could indicate blockage in the vents.
Other electrical home systems
Ring the doorbell, test the sprinkler system (if they aren’t blown out for the winter), use the garage doors, and other electrical systems. Some of the lesser-used or thought-about systems may have been overlooked by repairmen, appraisers, or the owners.
Run the sinks, showers, and toilets in addition to checking the pipes for leaks. If there is a small problem, fix it now before it becomes a large, expensive problem.
Appliances like the dishwasher, sink disposal, refrigerator, stove, oven, water filters, washers, and dryers wear out and break over time. Make sure they are in good working order so you don’t have to get them fixed while trying to move and settle into your new home. If the home has gas appliances like the stove, fireplace or water heater, check to make sure there are no leaks in the gas lines.
Warranty and repair information
In addition to making sure that the appliances are in working order, ask the sellers for a list of repair records and any existing warranties. Having this information is the best indicator about the care, age, and current working state of appliances and systems. Pay attention to what repair services the current owners used as well. If something goes wring with a previously repaired appliance, call that repair service first. They may be more familiar with what went wrong and there may be a repair warranty in place.
Mold and pests
While you may not have seen signs of mold, bugs, or mice before, they may have appeared between your last tour and the final walk-through. Look for droppings, dead bugs, and mold in the bathrooms that may have suddenly appeared. If you see something, say something and get it taken care of.
Make sure the front and back yards of the house are what you are expecting. This may seem silly to worry about in the final walk-through, but new developments can happen any time. Dry spots or puddles in the yard indicate a problem with the sprinkler system. In the past, buyers have also threatened to walk away because they liked the metal hose roller that the sellers wanted to keep, or sellers had dug up trees and shrubs that they wanted to move to their new house.
Ask a lot of questions, take notes and take pictures. Buying a house is a big decision, so practice due diligence and make sure you are not left in the dark about anything.