What is a walk through and a final walk through?
When you’re buying a home, there are so many things to make sure that you do. You have to hire a real estate agent, find the perfect home, make an offer, and get a mortgage loan along with a multitude of other to-do’s. Once you’ve finished all these things and the home is nearly yours, it’s important to do a final walk through. Before any closing documents are signed or you move any of your personal belongings in, this is the final step in a home purchase. These have to be done between a week and 48 before closing to ensure the house is what you expect as-is.
A final walk through is different from all of the earlier viewings because it is the buyer’s last chance to go through the house and make sure that it is in the condition that your contract specified. It allows to you make sure any requested repairs or changes have been made accordingly, and to make sure that the seller did not cause any additional damage when moving out.
Occasionally, a hasty seller or a reluctant tenant can damage the house while moving, leave a mess or leave behind some of their belongings that you don’t want. You also need to make sure that any appliances or other items that you negotiated for have been left behind and not accidently moved. The walk through is the best way to make sure that when buying your new home, that there are very few surprises lurking anywhere.
The walk through should occur close to the closing date, and preferably during daylight hours so that you can see everything in bright, natural light. Make sure that you also bring a flashlight for any tight spaces, closets, attics or basement areas. Bring both your real estate agent and a copy of your contract to review as you look through all the details in your home.
This will help remind you of everything that you and the seller agreed upon while you drafted up the final contract. It’s important because usually it has been weeks since you last saw the house and you may forget a few things. Once you do the final walk through and sign the final closing papers, you adopt every aspect of the home as-is and you can no longer hold the seller accountable.
Make sure that no matter how excited you are about your new home, that you take the time to examine every detail. Check every room and the outside property because once your new home exhilaration wears off, you’re stuck with everything – good or bad.
What is the difference between a home inspection and a walk through?
A home inspection is done by a professional home inspector and will look for major structural issues like crumbling foundations, outdated wiring and plumbing, or roof issues. The inspector then forwards his report to the buyer’s real estate agent or directly to the buyer and it can be used to negotiate repairs or lower prices. This can help the potential buyer to feel like they are making an informed decision before they make an investment in a new home. This way there are very few hidden defects that could be discovered after purchase.
This differs from a walk through because it’s usually done way before any offers are made and usually delves deeper into the home than a buyer with little construction knowledge can. The walk through is a last minute check before your final purchase.
When is the best time to schedule my walk through?
Usually, you want to schedule your walk through as close to the final closing as you can so that you see your new home at the last minute as possible. That way you can lessen the chance of any damage occurring before you sign on the house. In the Las Vegas real estate market, for example, it’s most common to do a walk through 24 hours before closing.
While typically for a walk through, later is better, if you’re contract states repairs that the seller is supposed to make, you should schedule two walk throughs. That way you can review the changes and still have time for any necessary negotiations or additional repairs if you are not satisfied. Don’t be afraid to be vocal about your concerns if something appears to not meet the conditions of your contract. Communication is vital between buyers, sellers and real estate agents to make sure everyone is happy with the settlement.
What can I expect during my walk through?
Sometimes, when a house is totally vacated, it can be startlingly different or it can be a pleasant surprise for the buyer. You may realize rooms are bigger without the seller’s personal furniture or clutter. Alternatively, you might notice things that were hidden by the previous resident’s things that could violate your contract or make you want to make additional negotiations.
Most of the time, as is common practice in the Las Vegas real estate market, your real estate agentwill include a “broom clean” amendment to the contract. This means that the home will be swept up, but not really deep cleaned. Unfortunately, everyone has a different standard of what clean really means so try to stay focused on the contracted details of the house.
What should I look for?
Be educated on your home inspection report and a copy of your contract before you begin the walk through and make sure you bring a copy of both along with you on the day of the walk through. Scrutinize the inside of the house, the outside of the house, and any additional buildings on theproperty. Make sure that you are well prepared and consider making a checklist prior to the walk through.
Start outside and look at the driveway, walkways and the landscaping to make sure it is all still in the same shape that you agreed to. You’re looking for any damage that might have occurred since your last visit to the home that the seller would be responsible for. This could include storm damage to the roof or windows as well as many other things.
Sometimes, sellers will leave things behind that they think will be beneficial to the buys like hoses, plants or outside furniture that you may or may not want. If you don’t want them, make a note and tell your real estate agent to have the seller remove them. On the other hand, make sure that the seller does leave any necessary keys, padlocks, garage door openers, and collars for invisible fencing or other essentials to the functions of the home.
Once you start inspecting the inside, go through slowly, room by room. Stay focused on the condition of each room and consult your contract or real estate agent to make sure it is as it should be. Window treatments and light fixtures are common areas of miscommunication and you should check to make sure everything you agreed upon has remained.
Check the attic, basement, closets and garage for any unwanted junk that the seller should have removed prior to closing. Also, make sure there is no new damage or remaining damage that was contracted to be repaired. If you’re not sure about the repairs, ask for receipts. Make sure there are no signs of water damage or mold that could have accumulated since the home inspection.
Make sure everything works
Once you make the conclusion that everything stated in the contract is included and up to the specified standards, it’s important to make sure that everything included works properly. Test all the kitchen appliances and turn on both the air conditioning and the heating to make sure they work. Another important thing is to bring along an electrical tester (fairly inexpensive at your local hardware store) to make sure all of the outlets inside and outside the house are operable.
Turn on lights and fans, flush toilets and run the water in all the sinks. Your goal is to make sure everything is in the exact same working order that you agreed upon in your contract. Don’t forget to check things like door bells, locks, hinges, drawers and garage door openers. Also, make sure you have any necessary owner’s manuals or warranties.
What if there is a problem?
Occasionally, a walk through will uncover issues that the seller needs to address or even items in the contract that the seller did not follow through on. This is unfortunate and requires you to decide whether the issue is worth disrupting your closing for. Sometimes it’s better to concede than to change your closing dates and re-negotiate a contract if the issue is minor and you can deal with it by yourself.
On the flip side, if you discover something major, like a leaky pipe that was concealed by the seller or you’re unsure of the extent or seriousness of a problem, it’s best to voice your concerns. Discuss this with your real estate agent and have them contact the seller and the seller’s agent to further explore the issue. If the seller is reluctant to pay for any additional repairs, weigh the costs against the fees and costs of pushing your closing date back. When buying a home, you should always be comfortable with and sure of your investment before you sign anything.