A final walk through is an inspection performed by the buyer anywhere from a few hours to five days before closing. Its main purpose is to ensure that the property is in the agreed-upon condition in which purchaser expects to receive the property – i.e., that all agreed-upon repairs have been made and no problems have arisen since the buyer last saw the house. The final walk through can take place without the seller being present; indeed, it often does. However, it is a good idea for the seller to be on the premises at time.
Sellers commonly move out before closing and do not attend the final walk through. In such situations, the final walk through is even more important, as problems arise when homes remain vacant for any period of time. If at all possible, though, buyers should do the final walk through in the seller’s presence. This is advisable because the seller knows the most about the home and can answer questions the buyer may have. For instance, when my husband and I did the final walk-through on our home, the seller was able to explain the names and care of some exotic trees on the property. She also introduced us to our new neighbors, personally. Most walk throughs aren’t that personal, but they’re still a good time to ask questions. For example, if the seller is present, the buyer could ask what improvements the seller has always wanted to make but never got around to executing. The buyer could also ask the seller in person for a forwarding address to send mail and, since in some states, buyers rarely ever meet the sellers, the walk through is a prime opportunity for the parties to say hello.
The following checklist presents a list of things to check on a final walk through:
Turn each ligh fixture on and off
Run water and check for leaks under sinks
Test all appliances
Test garage door openers
Open and close all doors
Inspect ceilings, wall, and floors
Run garbage disposal and exhaust fans
Check heating and air conditioning
Open and close windows
Make sure all debris is removed from home
If there are attics and basements, check them to make sure rodents haven’t been busy eating away at insulation and wiring while the house is vacant
Pay particular attention to places that may have been covered with furniture the last time you were in the house
Look to make sure that things you thought were supposed to be left behind were, in fact left behind