The final and crucial step before closing on your new home is performing a walk-through checklist of the property. The first step toward a successful walk-through is to make sure you come prepared. Documenting the condition of the property is essential before closing. Bring a camera to take photos of any areas of the apartment that does not meet your standards and to keep a visual record of the condition. Have a pen and paper so you can take notes. Be sure to have a cell phone charger to check that all electrical outlets function. Also, bring a tape measure to ensure your furniture will fit in the elevator and through the halls and doorways.
In addition to being prepared with the right equipment, it’s also important to have a clear plan for what you’re going to check. Since an unorganized walk-through is not going to be successful, we’ve simplified this process by putting together a comprehensive final walk-through checklist.
By following each item on the checklist below, you’ll be able to get to everything that should be addressed during the walkthrough. That will give you peace of mind, as well as make this experience as efficient as possible.
Once you complete the walk-through with your buyer’s agent or owner, be sure to let your attorney know if all is ok or if any issues may require negotiating repairs or escrow at closing.
Table of Contents
- Final Walk-Through – Essential things to Check
- How to Do a Successful Walkthrough Before Closing
- Final Walk-Through Checklist
Final Walk-Through – Essential things to Check
The final walk-through is your last chance to catch damage, unfinished work, or other errors made in the process of turning your new home over to you. Whether the house is brand new, or you’re taking possession of a prior family, it’s essential that you do a thorough walk-through. Here are some essential things you should look for before your real estate closing.
Verify the Condition of All Appliances
If the seller is leaving appliances behind for you, check to make sure these are all in the agreed upon condition. Open the refrigerator, dishwasher, and oven to check for damage or messes. If the home has a washer/dryer start the cycle for each to make sure all is working. Turn each item on to make sure it works. Start the ice maker and get a glass of water from the fridge if your appliance has these features. Turn light switches on and off. Run the garbage disposal. Make sure every electrical item in the house is functioning correctly.
Check for Sound Plumbing
Turn every faucet on and off to make sure you don’t have any new plumbing damage. Run both the tub and the shower. Check hot and cold water. Flush every toilet. One cautionary story tells of a home where flushing the toilet caused a geyser to spring up in the backyard. Skipping even one of these checks could leave you with thousands of dollars in repairs after you’ve closed on your home.
Note Any Wall and Floor Damage
Examine the floors and walls for damage. If the seller agreed to clean the carpet, make sure it looks fresh. Ask for a receipt for this as well, to confirm that professional steam cleaned the carpet properly. If the seller agreed to paint the walls, make sure they’re the correct shade. Look for scuffs or scratches from careless movers.
Doors and Windows
Open and close all the doors and windows. This is easy to overlook, but you may not notice a torn screen or damaged window pane until you touch and move these things. Remember this is not the time to negotiate for new work. You should have arranged for the appropriate repairs before. However, you can address issues that the seller agreed to fix and did not or damages that have occurred since your last inspection.
If the seller is leaving specific items for you, make sure that they’re there. This may consist of light fixtures, window treatments, or furniture. It’s also important to make sure the right items are there. If the seller agreed to leave a beautiful Persian rug, look carefully to make sure that you’re getting the same carpet you decided to buy, and not a similar replacement.
You should also look for items that are not supposed to be included. You don’t want to find that you have to clean out an attic, basement, or crawlspace full of junk months later. If you don’t want it, make sure the sellers take it with them.
The final walk-through is an optional part of the home buying process, but this is something every buyer should do. Take your time and do a thorough job checking everything in our checklist below – this is your last chance!
How to Do a Successful Walkthrough Before Closing
Being prepared is essential for a successful walkthrough. When you leave for your walkthrough appointment, you’ll want to be sure that you bring a camera, notepad, pen and tape measure. This will allow you to document any issues and ensure that all of the furniture you plan to bring in will fit.
In addition to being prepared with the right equipment, it’s also important to have a clear plan for what you’re going to check. Since an unorganized walkthrough is not going to be successful, we’ve simplified this process by putting together a comprehensive checklist below.
By following each item on the checklist below, you’ll be able to get to everything that should be addressed during the walk-through. That will give you peace of mind, as well as make this experience as efficient as possible.
Doors & Windows
- Make sure every door & window easily opens and closes.
- Check doorknobs and locks to ensure they’re in proper working condition.
- Confirm that screens and other window coverings are intact. Also, take note of any window drafts that need to be addressed.
Kitchen: Verify the Condition of All Appliances
Check appliances left behind to make sure these are all in the agreed upon condition. Open the refrigerator, dishwasher, and oven to check for damage or messes. Turn each item on to make sure it works. Start the ice maker and get a glass of water from the fridge if your appliance has these features. Turn light switches on and off. Run the garbage disposal. Make sure every electrical item in the house is functioning correctly.
- Test every appliance to ensure it’s working correctly.
- Check each burner on the stove, as well as the oven itself.
- In addition to ensuring the refrigerator is working, check for signs of leaks or mustiness.
- Take note of any damage to the kitchen’s flooring.
- Look for chips or other damage inside of the cabinets.
- Ensure toilets are working and free of leaks by flushing each one.
- Check sinks to make sure they run and don’t leak.
- Ensure the showerhead works without spraying water everywhere.
- Confirm that the water pressure and hot water are both acceptable.
- Make sure the bathroom mirror doesn’t have cracks, and if applicable, the medicine cabinet opens easily.
Living Room and Bedrooms
- Make sure every light switch is working.
- Test the air conditioner to confirm all of its settings work.
- Check the blinds for proper functionality.
- Record any cracks or other damage that you see on the walls or in the flooring.
- If there’s a fireplace, confirm that it can be turned on.
General & Safety Checks
- Keep an eye out for any signs of an insect or rodent presence inside the property.
- Check each electrical outlet by plugging in a cell phone charger or another electronic device.
- Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as make sure fire extinguishers are current.
- Confirm that there is a current fire escape plan for the apartment.
Once you complete the walkthrough with the broker or owner, be sure to let your attorney know if all is ok or if any issues may require negotiating repairs or escrow at closing.
The Final Walk-Through Checklist for Home Buyers below is a complete resource to perform a comprehensive walk-through.
Final Walk-Through Checklist
|Check for any signs of an insect rodent infestation, such as droppings or chew marks.||YES||NO|
|Make sure home phone or cable jacks are available, and that they are functioning and accessible.||YES||NO|
|Check for floor creaks, noticeable cracks in plaster or drywall that might have been covered before the previous owner moved out, which could be signs of structural damage.||YES||NO|
|Turn on all light switches, the microwave, and the A/C unit at the same time to be sure a breaker doesn’t trip.||YES||NO|
|Check to see that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and in the appropriate areas, and ensure that fire extinguishers are in place.||YES||NO|
|Find the fire escape plan if your home is in an apartment building, and make sure you know where to go in the event of a fire or other emergency.||YES||NO|
|Check each electrical outlet by plugging in a cell phone charger or another electronic device.||YES||NO|
|DOOR AND WINDOW CHECKS|
|Check all windows and doors to make sure they operate properly.||YES||NO|
|Try all locks and doorknobs to ensure they are secure and not wobbly. If there is more than one type of lock, ask your building super for a key for each lock.||YES||NO|
|Be sure window screens function.||YES||NO|
|Turn on all the burners on the stove to make sure they light.||YES||NO|
|Open and close the oven door, and check that all racks are in the oven. Check the broiler and make sure it works.||YES||NO|
|Open and close the refrigerator doors and pull out every drawer. Check for any musty smells. If there is an ice-maker, check to see if it works. Make sure the fridge is chilly and the freezer is cold.||YES||NO|
|Check all other appliances (microwave, dishwasher, etc.) and make sure they are in good working order.||YES||NO|
|Examine tile for any scrapes, scuffs and cracks, and check the counter tops for any stains, burn marks or chips.||YES||NO|
|Open and close all the cupboard doors and drawers. Check for chips and dings.||YES||NO|
|Flush toilets to make sure the plumbing works properly. Look inside the tank to be certain the handle is sturdy.||YES||NO|
|Check for leaks under the sink by running every faucet. Look under the sink to make sure there are no drips, water discolorations or odors. Fill up the sinks to make sure they hold water and drain properly.||YES||NO|
|Make sure the shower-head works, and the water pressure is good. Test the hot water to ensure it heats up in a timely manner. Fill the tub with water to be sure that it drains well.||YES||NO|
|Open the medicine cabinet door to be certain it works well.||YES||NO|
|BEDROOM AND LIVING ROOM CHECKS|
|If the air conditioner is in the window, test it on low, medium, and high to be certain it cools. Listen for any strange sounds and be aware of any weird smells, which could be a sign that the filter needs to be changed.||YES||NO|
|Open and close the blinds to make sure they work properly.||YES||NO|
|Look for cracks and dents in the baseboards.||YES||NO|
|Check for stains in the carpet, chipped paint, peeling wallpaper, and large holes in the wall.||YES||NO|
|Make sure the fireplace (if there is one) is in working condition.||YES||NO|
|Once you and your broker have completed the walk-through, schedule any repairs, and make sure to sign a document detailing the agreed-upon condition of the property before going to closing.||YES||NO|