Great job getting to this point! Your emotional roller coaster ride is almost over but as with all steps in the home buying process, some things can go wrong. Luckily, your trusted real estate agent will be there with you.
The final walk-through is the last time that you’ll likely see the house before it’s yours. It should take place no more than 1-2 days before the closing. This is your chance to ensure that what is being delivered to you is what you are expecting. Here’s a checklist of things to look for while in the home:
- Cleanliness: Sellers are supposed to deliver the home in broom-clean condition. If it’s a nasty mess, take some photos.
- Damage: The house should be in the same condition that it was when you put it under agreement less the sellers possessions. Be sure nothing was damaged in the meantime, like holes in walls, floor scratches or large dents that can happen when moving furniture.
- Repairs: Verify that any work the sellers agreed to do has been done to your satisfaction.
- Personal items: Look inside all closets, attic, basement and other storage spaces to be sure nothing was left behind. In the rush of moving, people sometimes forget to check the cabinet over the fridge or other little-used spaces. Often sellers, trying to be helpful, will leave things like half-empty paint cans or shelving. If you don’t ask to have these things removed prior to the closing, it will be on you to dispose of them.
- Tools and trash: Check the yard and garage. Make sure the sellers haven’t left piles of debris or any personal items and be sure that any garage door openers are present and functional.
- Plantings: While outside, be sure that all landscaping is still planted. Believe it or not, some sellers think it’s okay to dig up trees, shrubs or flowers.
- Included items: Be sure that everything that was included in the sale is still in the home. This could be anything from the washer and dryer to curtains and curtain rods.
- Oil gauge: If there’s an oil tank, take a photo of the gauge. The unused oil will be billed to you on the closing statement. If the seller’s agent forgot to check it, that can cause delays or attorneys may just assume it’s about half full when it could be almost empty.
- Working mechanicals: Try out the hot water, appliances, heating and/or air conditioning to make sure everything is still in working order. Once you own the house, it’s on you to fix or replace non-working systems.
- Water problems: If the home has been vacant for a while, be sure to run the water and look for any leaks or signs of water damage.
- Smart technology: Be sure smart devices are reset. See this blog post for more info about buying a home with smart technology. As soon as you take ownership, reset all of the passwords on any smart devices.
- Other ideas: See these other suggestions from QuickenLoans.com.
Make a note of any issues that you find and let your attorney know. If you do find a major issue, it’s not the end of the world. Normally, the attorneys will make sure that you are compensated for the issue or that the sellers repair or replace prior to closing. Remember that once you own the house, you’re the only one responsible for cleaning, fixing, treating or remediating. Doing a diligent final walk-through can save you lots of problems after the sale. If you have any questions, I’m here for you.