You’ve eyed your ideal house, done all you need to do before contacting the seller, and after months (or maybe years) of going through the house buying process, you’re finally ready to move in! Well, not exactly. As exciting as it is just to walk in and live your life in your new home, it’s crucial that you first go through the house to ensure that everything is in top shape and is exactly the way you and the seller agreed on. You wouldn’t want to immediately move in and find out later that something’s amiss, right? So, to ensure that you’re getting all you’re paying for and that moving in will be a smooth process, you need to go through one of the last crucial steps in buying a house first: a final walkthrough.
When going through this last step, it’s essential to have a walkthrough checklist of what to look at when doing a final inspection of your soon-to-be personal property. To help you keep these in mind, read on to find the questions to ask before a final walkthrough.
What is a final walkthrough?
As the name suggests, a final walkthrough is when a home buyer goes through and walks around the house they’re buying to ensure that everything in the personal property matches what they agreed upon with the seller. This includes the overall condition of the house and any agreed-upon repairs that the seller and buyer talked about prior. The final walkthrough occurs before closing, and it’s recommended that this is scheduled on a date closest to the closing day.
Since it is the final walk-through, it is assumed that the proper legal documentation was already checked. That is, the seller’s ownership over the property has already been verified and reviewed.
Questions to consider
Before and during the walkthrough, it’s important to have a few questions in mind to serve as a checklist of what you need to look into.
Based on the agreement with the seller, what should the house look like?
From the get-go, have a clear picture of what was agreed on, including any repairs that were supposed to be made. For example, were the restorations, like painting repairs or other additional repairs, done just as you talked about? Is there anything wrong with the walls, doors, floors, ceilings, and windows?
Do the utilities work fine?
Check the house’s water fixtures. Use the sinks and flush toilets to see if they work fine; do you see any leaks or other water damage from the house plumbing? Check the running water. Do you have access to both hot water and cold water? Is the water pressure acceptable?
Check the light fixtures and switches, too; do the light bulbs turn on and off? Finally, you can check if electricity flows through all the electrical outlets. Bring a phone charger with you to check if the sockets work.
Is the exterior up to your standards?
If there’s a gate, does it open and close? Do the walls and fence (if any) have damage? For instance, do you see holes in walls? If the house has wooden walls, do you see unusual marks on the wood? Are there signs of termites or signs of damage anywhere?
For the garage, does it appear the way you want it to? If there’s a garage door, does this door open and close, and if it comes with a button or other garage door openers, do these function well? Are the yard items that you agreed on all present outside?
Do all built-in appliances work?
It’s also good to check the major appliances in the house. Do the kitchen appliances that come with the house function? If there are built-in ceiling fans and air conditioning units, do they work? If the house comes with the garbage disposal, does it run okay? Can these appliances be controlled by gadgets or mobile phones? If so, do they work the way they are supposed to?
If any, do all security features work?
Are there any CCTV cameras installed? Are they functioning and are strategically located and covering all the “critical” areas? If there are built-in security settings and passwords in appliances and other parts of the house (doors, locks, etc.), can you change the passwords?
Is the house in clean condition and already free of other things that won’t be yours?
Is there debris from any parts of the house? Are there any signs of pests? Check any built-in storage; did the seller leave any of their things behind?
You should consider these questions before and when you make the final walkthrough. If everything’s all good, then you’re one step closer to closing!
But what if something is wrong?
Finding a big problem during a walk-through can be quite a nuisance, but it’s better to resolve any issues before closing on the house. While you could back out, it’s recommended that you do this as your last option – at this point, you and the seller did go through a lot of trouble, so it’s best that you try and negotiate to resolve any issues that you find first. If you see something amiss during the walkthrough, here are some of your options:
Renegotiate with the seller
First, if you’re willing, you can ask the seller to delay the closing date. This would give the seller time to make any repairs or changes in the house. If the seller can no longer delay the closing date or cannot oversee repairs, you can renegotiate to see if they would be willing to pay you to address any problems and handle the repairs on your own.
Plan an escrow holdback
If the seller refuses to do either, you can plan on doing an escrow holdback. This procedure involves collecting a certain amount of money, holding it back, and setting it aside at the closing of a house (done by a neutral third party), and will be refunded once repairs are made. This encourages the seller to do any repairs or make necessary changes quickly to get this amount.
These are some essential things for you to keep in mind when you go through one of the final and arguably most crucial parts of buying a house. Remember that besides having the questions in mind to serve as your checklist, you should take your time and communicate any concerns and questions that you might have. Considering these will ensure that you won’t run into any trouble as you close in on your house and have a smoother process. Hope everything goes well, future homeowner!