You may have seen the home you are buying three or four times already. First there was the Open House you happened upon as you were out driving. You fell in love and ended up calling your Realtor to meet you back out there to view again with her. Then you attended the home inspection and got a very good education about the home. Your Realtor successfully negotiated with the Sellers to make some much needed repairs. You forgot to measure for curtains so your agent made another appointment to let you in to make some measurements.
Why Do You Need To Do A Final Walk-Through Inspection?
Now the home is starting to really feel like it’s yours, and you’ve seen first-had that it has been well taken care of. So why is there a need to do a “final walk-through” inspection before closing?
Because Stuff Happens.
And Stuff Happens more often than you might think. After over 20 years in the business, I have seen smooth transactions hit some rough spots at the eleventh hour.
The final walk-through inspection is intended to ensure that the home you are buying is in “the same or better” condition as it was found at the time you entered into the sales contract. Here in Louisville, Kentucky verbiage about the final walk-through inspection is in the body of our real estate contracts.
Here are 9 key items to check off as you walk through the home:
- Check every light fixture to make sure they are operable.
- Test every appliance that stays with the home. (for instance, if the contract stated that the kitchen appliances remain with the home, make sure that those same appliances are still in place and haven’t been switched out. (Yes, it happens!) You may not have the time to let the dishwasher run its full cycle, but just make sure it turns on and the door closes properly. Check to make sure the refrigerator’s icemaker is functional. Check to make sure the burners and over turn on. (And of course make sure everything is turned back OFF before you leave.)
- Open and close all doors and check the locks. Any large scratches or holes in the doors that weren’t there before?
- Open and close all windows and check the locks. Any cracked or broken windows that weren’t there before?
- Test the air conditioning (weather permitting) or the heat (weather permitting)
- Run water and check for leaks. Flush toilets and check for leaks.
- Look over all the walls, floors and ceilings. Any new stains, flooring cracks or tears in vinyl? Holes or scratches in walls that weren’t there before?
- Run garbage disposal and exhaust fan(s).
- Make sure all debris and personal property that was not asked for in the contract has been removed.
Checking Out The Repaired Items.
In addition to this “punch list”, you will want to make sure that any repairs agreed to after the home inspection have been completed to your satisfaction. It’s a good idea, especially if the repairs are extensive and/or complicated, to hire your home inspector to come out again just to re-inspect those specific repair items. If for any reason they were not completed or completed properly and the closing cannot be postponed until this matter can be resolved, arrangements will need to be made to hold back money from the Seller’s proceeds until the repairs are completed. (Check to see what the law provides in your state). Here in Louisville, the closing attorney will sometimes offer to hold back adequate monies that will more than offset the cost of repair(s), and any monies left over after the Sellers provide proof that repairs are completed (and Buyers are satisfied with the repairs), the closing attorney will then make payment to the contractor, and if there are funds left over, those funds are returned to the Sellers.
In many cases the Sellers have vacated the home prior to the closing, making it much easier to perform a final walk-through. You will be much better able to see if there are holes or “dings” in the walls created by movers. Evidence of a Kool-Aid stain in the carpet that wasn’t there before will need to be addressed.
If the contract stated that the Sellers have a few days after the closing, it is highly recommended that you perform a second final walk-though inspection. In our Greater Louisville Association of Louisville contracts, that protective verbiage is standard, and the second walk-through survives the closing.
Due Diligence Pays Off.
In most cases, the home you are buying is in much better shape, especially after home repairs, than it was when you first signed on the dotted line. But taking the last important step is certainly in your best interest, so do take the time to take that one last and thorough look at your home before the keys are placed in your hand. You’ll be very glad you did.
Get A Copy Of A Final Walk Through Checklist.
If you would like a pre-printed checklist to take with you to your final walk-through inspection, email me: Jacki@TheShaferTeam.com . We would be happy to email it to you. Or call me with questions. If I don’t know the answer, I will find it for you, or point you in the right direction. My number is 502.643.7653.