The Final Walkthrough: Don't Mind the Little Things

By Keith Loria

After you've found the perfect home, made an offer, negotiated the price, had an inspection and ensured your mortgage, it's time to think about the final walkthrough. Normally done on the day of, or the day before the settlement, the final walkthrough is the last piece of the puzzle that needs to be completed before you sign the final closing papers.

When doing a final walkthrough inspection, you're not so much looking for little things that are wrong, but instead making sure the house is in the same condition as when you agreed to buy it. It's important that you don't spend time nitpicking if you see nail holes in the wall or a slight de-colorization on the floor where a carpet was. These are small issues that you will deal with eventually and shouldn't affect signing your name on the closing documents.

What could affect the documents being signed is if things that were agreed to stay are gone, such as a washing machine or curtains, or things that were supposed to be removed are still there, such as old paint cans in the basement or a heavy, broken fridge in the garage.

It's also important to make sure that everything contracted to be done after the home inspection was actually done. For instance, if the sellers agreed to replace the old water heater, but didn't, that's grounds for some financial changes come settlement time. In many instances, the seller may have simply run out of time and thought taking the money off the price was worth the hassle putting a new one in would cost.

While you may be eager to complete the final walkthrough and get the closing papers signed, don't rush the inspection. Take your time and make sure everything is how it should be. You may want to run the appliances through a full cycle to ensure that they work properly. Be sure to turn on all faucets and showers as well.

In certain cases, some contracts specify that the buyer do a walkthrough inspection a week or two prior to settlement, and then schedule a quick meeting prior to settlement to check off any items previously noted. If these items aren't taken care of, things can still be changed in the final settlement regarding money.

As anyone purchasing a home knows, things can happen at the drop of a hat, however, the final walkthrough typically goes off without a hitch in the majority of real estate transactions. In the end, both parties are eager to get the deal done and you'll find negotiating over any issues to be a much smother process than agreeing on a price.

To learn more about final walkthroughs, contact our office today.