You’ve found your dream home…the offer was accepted…the loan is secured…your inspector has given the thumbs up…and you’re about to sign the closing papers. There’s one more important step I urge you not to overlook before you receive the keys: the final walk-through. This should be done the day before, or even the day of, your closing.
The final walk-through is a critical part of the home buying process. You and your agent will visit the property to make sure that the home is in good condition and that you are getting everything that was written into the sales agreement. This generally includes all window coverings, attached light fixtures (e.g. chandeliers, track lighting), appliances, area rugs/carpets and spas/pools, unless otherwise indicated in the agreement. You’ll also want to ensure that any previously agreed-upon repairs have been completed.
Make sure that the home is clean, the cabinets and garage have been emptied, the toilets, sinks, dishwashers and laundry machines are functional, the heat and air conditioning work and that all trash has been removed. Turn on all the light switches and test the outlets. Other potential surprises include large carpet stains that were hidden by furniture, large wall cracks that were camouflaged under paintings or mirrors, or water stains from leaks that have developed since you last saw the property. If you discover any of these conditions, you have the option of asking the owner to repair them before closing or to provide financial concessions on the selling price. Once you have closed, the sellers are no longer obligated to make any repairs.
If I still haven’t convinced you of the importance of the walk-through, here’s a cautionary tale that we personally experienced. The buyer and agent did a walk-through on a home that was built in 2005. They thought they had done a completely thorough inspection and everything appeared to be in working order, so they proceeded to closing.
A few weeks later, the buyer called our company and said that the furnace did not look like it belonged in the house. Sure enough, upon inspection, the furnace was a beat up, rusty model from the 1970s—the owners had swapped out the new furnace after the inspection and replaced it with an old one! You can be sure that from that point on, we included the furnace in our walk-throughs and advise you to do the same.