Final Walk Through – What It Is and Why It’s Important

Kyle Hiscock
Published on March 27, 2014

Final Walk Through – What It Is and Why It’s Important

Final Walk Through - What Is It and Why It's Important

Final Walk Through – What Is It and Why It’s Important

There is often a misconception and/or confusion of what a final walk through is and why it’s important.  A final walk through can sometimes be referred to as a pre-closing “inspection.”  Since the offer was accepted, over the past couple months there have been many professionals working hard to ensure that the closing takes place in a timely fashion!

Now the bank gives their “clear to close” on your future home.  You get notification from your attorney that the closing day and time is confirmed and scheduled.  The level of excitement is extremely high since there is light at the end of the tunnel!  Your real estate agent should now be in touch regarding the scheduling of your final walk through.  Although exciting, the final walk through is important and many things should checked and inspected and not overlooked.  Here is a detailed explanation of what the final through is and why it’s important.

The Final Walk Through is Not a Home Inspection
In most cases, a buyer has the opportunity to perform a home inspection prior to agreeing to purchase a home.  It is a common contract contingency to be aware of when purchasing a home.  The final walk through is not a home inspection.  This is not an opportunity to thoroughly inspect the electrical panel to check for double tapped wires or that furnace is clean, unless it was agreed upon from the inspection contingency.  The final walk through shouldn’t be an hour or two hour long appointment like a home inspection traditionally is.

Bring a Copy of Your Contract
Your real estate agent should have a copy of your contract with them, but it’s recommended to bring a copy of the contract in case they don’t.  Often the purchase of a home will include “personal property.”  This can include things such as drapes, blinds, appliances, or other items that are not permanently attached to the property.  The final walk through is the time to ensure that the personal property items that were agreed to be included in the sale, are still present.  Have a copy of the contract handy so it can be referred to if there are any questions or discrepancies.

At the final walk through, it's important to take the utility meter readings so that the correct amount is billed to the seller and the new buyer is not charged for utilities that are not theirs!

At the final walk through, it’s important to take the utility meter readings so that the correct amount is billed to the seller and the new buyer is not charged for utilities that are not theirs!

Utility Readings
Prior to a home closing, both the buyer and the seller should call their local utility companies.  This can include the gas, electric, and water providers.  Once a firm closing date and time have been scheduled the seller should contact the utility company to switch the utilities out of their name and the buyer should call to have them switched into their name.  It’s recommended that they are effective the day of closing to ensure there is no stoppage in utilities.  Many providers will charge a fee to turn back on their service.  At the final walk through, readings should be obtained for the utilities.  These readings should be called into the respective companies to ensure accurate billing is provided to both the buyer and the seller.  There are some utility companies who will arrange a time to perform the readings themselves, but it’s always good to be safe and record your own reads!

Ask for a final walk through checklist!  A good real estate agent should be able to provide a detailed checklist!

Ask for a final walk through checklist! A good real estate agent should be able to provide a detailed checklist!

Checklist
Possibly the most important part of the final walk through is to complete a checklist of the home.  A good real estate agent should be able to provide their clients a checklist for the final walk through.  Here are several things that should be checked at the final walk through:

  • Check exterior:  Look at the exterior siding, roofing, chimney, or any other exterior features that the home may have.  If there has been severe weather recently this is extra important as it’s not uncommon for roof shingles or siding to be damaged.
  • Turn all light fixtures on/off: Check to make sure that all light fixtures are functioning. If one seems to not be working, try replacing the bulb with a different bulb from another light fixture.
  • Make sure all fixtures are still there:  Ensure that the light fixtures that were in the home when you originally viewed the property are still there, unless it was agreed upon that they would be excluded.
  • Turn on heat/air conditioning: Depending on the location of the property and the time of the season, turn on the heat and/or air conditioning.  Not having a functioning furnace or air conditioning unit when you move in can create problems.
  • Turn on water: Check faucets to ensure the water is properly working.  In addition, check for any leaking pipes underneath sinks or leaking bathtubs/showers.  Also make sure that there is hot water because that will generally indicate the hot water heater is functioning correctly.
  • Test garage door openers (if applicable)
  • Flush toilets
  • Check status of agreed repairs:  If there were items that were agreed upon between the buyer and seller to be repaired or fixed, make sure they have been completed.  A good buyers real estate agent should ask for receipts or records from any repairs that were agreed upon.
  • Check included appliances
  • Check windows/doors:  Make sure there are no broken windows and/or doors.
  • Check storage areas to ensure that they are “broom-clean:”  When homes are transferred from a seller to a buyer, they are supposed to be in “Broom-Clean Condition.”  The term “broom-clean” is a very vague, as it can mean one thing to the buyer and a different to the seller.  If there is garbage or personal belongings from the seller in the storage areas or in the home, they should be removed prior to closing.

Address any problems that arise at the final walk through quickly so there isn't a problem at closing!  Having a final walk through document for the buyer to sign is an excellent idea!

Address any problems that arise at the final walk through quickly so there isn’t a problem at closing! Having a final walk through document for the buyer to sign is an excellent idea!

Address Problems Quickly
If there are problems that arise from the final walk through, it’s important to address them quickly.  Real estate agents often will have their client sign a form acknowledging that they are satisfied with the results of the final walk through.  It’s a good idea as it can eliminate problems at the closing.  If there are problems that the buyer wants addressed, their attorney should be notified immediately so they can be resolved prior to the closing date and time if possible!

The above explanation of what a final walk through is and why it’s important is why it should not be taken lightly.  There are many costs associated with buying a home and the last thing that a buyer needs is problems once they’ve moved in due to overlooking something at their final walk through!  What other items would you include as important during a final walk through?

 Other Final Walk Through Information

Buying a home in Rochester, NY?  We’d love to represent you as your buyers real estate agent and ensure that the final walk through is productive and things are not overlooked!  Contact us if you’d like a copy of our final walk through checklist.

 

About the authors:  The above article Final Walk Through – What It Is and Why It’s Important was provided by the Keith Hiscock Sold Team (Keith & Kyle Hiscock).  With almost 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

Visit our website at www.HiscockHomes.com.

© 2014 – 2016, Kyle Hiscock. All rights reserved.

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Final Walk Through – What It Is and Why It’s Important
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