The final walk-through is the second-to-last step in the homebuying process. At its core, this step is an opportunity for you, as the buyer, to make sure everything is up to par in your new home. With that in mind, if you've been wondering about the final walk-through in a real estate transaction, keep reading. We'll cover what a final walk-through is, the role it plays in the buying process, and how you can get the most out of this final inspection.
What is a final walk-through?
As the name suggests, in a real estate transaction, the final walk-through is a final inspection of the property shortly before the closing date. It's an opportunity for the homebuyer to verify that all negotiated repairs have been completed and to ensure that the condition of the property hasn't changed since their last visit, as well as to familiarize themselves with the home's systems.
Typically, only the buyer and buyer's agent will attend this inspection. This is mainly done to ensure that the buyer has the freedom to thoroughly evaluate the property without feeling pressured. However, in the event that the property is a newly built home, sometimes the builder or a contractor may also attend.
Tips to ace your final walk-through
Schedule the walk-through as close to your closing day as possible
Usually, your real estate agent will ask when you'd like to schedule the walk-through. While you'll certainly want to pick a time that works in your schedule, you should also try to make sure that you do it relatively close to closing. Typically, buyers will choose either the night before closing or the morning of their settlement.
The reasoning behind choosing this timing is simple. This is your last chance to verify the condition of the house before you officially become its new owner, and as such, become responsible for fixing any issues yourself. The closer to closing that you hold the walk-through, the less likely it is that any unanticipated problems will crop up, such as heavy rains causing water damage or neighborhood kids breaking a window with a baseball.
Ideally, the home seller will also have moved out by that point, which means you can also use the walk-through to make sure they didn't leave any personal property behind.
Bring all your paperwork with you
Whenever you end up doing your walk-through, you'll want to make sure you bring all your relevant paperwork with you, including your purchase agreement, the home inspection report, and any addendums to the sales contract regarding necessary repairs.
It's important to have this paperwork on hand because it'll give you a framework for this inspection. Essentially, you'll have the ability to go through the addendums to the contract line by line to make sure you're not forgetting about any of the negotiated repairs. You'll also want to verify that any appliances or light fixtures that were supposed to be left behind are still present in the home.
Realize that the final walk-through is not a home inspection
Sometimes buyers get so caught up in doing their due diligence that they almost go looking for problems. However, a final walk-through is not a redo of the home inspection. Rather than acting like a home inspector and looking for a punch list of items to repair, your main focus should be ensuring that all the home's major components are in working condition.