Have you decided to buy a house? Are you going to close the deal? Don't forget to do the final inspection before you sign the deal and avoid surprises in the future. For example, you can check if a repair supposed to be done by the seller has been fixed or not, otherwise, you will have to bear the expenses. Also, this would be your last chance to identify any problems with the exterior or interior of the house you are about to buy.
Important points about the final walkthrough
- This would be your last opportunity to inspect a house for a pending issue with the real estate agent before you buy it.
- Mostly, this is done after the seller is done with the repairs agreed upon and moves out of the house.
- A final walkthrough is important because it will help you ensure that the house is in the same condition as mentioned in the purchase agreement.
- Ideally, you should do the final walkthrough one or two days before the closing date. Moreover, it would take 2-3 hours to complete the entire process.
- The real estate agent will note down and click photos in case of any identified problems and this would be helpful for you to request the pending repairs.
- It would be a good idea to first inspect for the requested repairs and go ahead checking for more issues room by room.
Both the home buyer and the real estate agent will walk around the house to check if everything exists in the same order as committed by the seller, with the purchase agreement in their hands for reference. However, if the seller hasn't yet moved out of the house, he needs to be present during the final walkthrough as well along with his real estate agent.
Let’s now explore the final walkthrough checklist that you should consider before buying a house:
Inspect the ceilings, walls, and floors
- Mostly, damage will occur during the move and is often noticed after the seller moves out of the house.
- Usually, you will notice the peeling paint, bracelet marks, and nail holes after an artwork, tv, or another decorative piece is taken off the wall.
- Scratches and stains on the floor are often noticed after the carpet is removed from the floor or the furniture has been moved.
- You may also notice water damage because of the moving appliances.
We recommend you carefully look through these problem areas and bring any large-scale damages to the notice of the seller.
Open and check the doors and windows
- Ensure all doors, windows, locks, and latches of each room are working properly.
- Make sure all doors and windows are opening smoothly and the doors shouldn’t be sealed shut by the paint. This will increase the risk of fire in the house.
- Check if the blinds, screens, and window coverings are working appropriately.
- Finally, you should check the garage door as well for the security of your car.
If this sounds cumbersome, consider doing the inspection room by room as a team and finish it off quickly.
Inspect the water fixture
You must check all the water fixtures around the house and the property. Kitchen sinks, pools, bathrooms, toilets, basements, irrigation systems, and showers are a few such places you need to check.
- Ensure the faucets are working smoothly and supply both hot and cold water.
- Make sure the toilet flush is functional and there isn’t any leakage anywhere.
Check the laundry room and kitchen
Both the laundry room and kitchen should be equipped with appliances, consider checking if it's still functional. Also, it seems a good idea to inspect the dishwasher, and washing machine as well as both under and behind the refrigerator. You must ensure there's no indication of water damage or mold, otherwise later you might have to repair it from your pocket.
Inspect the heater, AC, and other electrical systems
You shouldn’t skip checking the functionality of the heater, just because you are moving during the summer. Moreover, you should even check the AC, regardless of the weather of the place when you are moving.
Switches, lights, ceiling fans, security systems, and doorbells are other electrical systems you should consider checking during the final walkthrough. Also, you must check the functionality and accessibility of the circuit breaker in the basement.
Check for the pests
Here’s how you can look for signs of pests in a house:
- Cracked or rotten wooden beams could be a sign of termites or other pests.
- If you notice droppings in the basement, it could be an indication of an infestation.
You must inspect this carefully and bring it to the notice of the seller before you enter the contract.
Inspect the fixture or included property
You should be responsible for all personal properties and fixtures that are included in the house deal. Here’s what you need to know about a fixture and private property:
- A fixture is a permanent portion of a house or is connected to the house. Landscaping, doorknobs, and light fixtures are a few such examples.
- Private property can be any item that the seller can take with him while he moves out of the house. For example, lawn appliances or furniture.
- Prepare a list of personal properties that were agreed upon to be purchased with the house.
- Ensure all personal properties or fixtures are in good condition.
- Identify any items that aren’t on your purchase list and make sure the seller removes them. Unwanted furniture, personal items, and construction materials could be a few such items.
Look through the exterior of the house
Now that you have finished inspecting the house, it seems ideal to walk through the exterior of the house as well. Here’s what you need to do:
- Move around the perimeter and outdoor portion of the house and make sure all is in shipshape.
- We suggest you check out for any perilous-looking trees, gutters, roofs, shrubs, fences, or sidings near the house.
Can you back out of the deal if there’s an issue?
If you find issues during the final walkthrough, you should work with the seller to find a solution and ensure to align it with the purchase contract. However, you can even opt to back out of the contract if your requirements aren’t met as per the purchase agreement. If this is the case, you would be provided with a refund but make sure it’s a last resort.
Here are a few other alternatives for you:
- Postpone the closing- You can delay the closing until the time the seller repairs any identified damages and make sure it’s in a condition as mentioned in the agreement. Moreover, the real estate agent or attorney will be responsible for processing this delay.
- Settle upon the contract- In case the seller isn’t staying in a nearby location, you can ask him to compensate for the repair. Also, he should be paying the amount from his sales proceedings.
- Opt for the Escrow Holdback- If the seller doesn’t agree to repair the damage or pay for you to repair it, it would be a good idea to deduct it from the sellers proceed. You can do this by holding back the amount spent on repairing the damage.
Overall, the final walkthrough is the most significant part of buying a house, we suggest you handle it with utmost care. This would be your last chance to ensure that the house is ready for you to move. However, if you don’t point out an existing issue at this time, you may be at a huge loss later, when you realize that all requirements of the agreement haven’t been met.