You’re almost there. You’re just about ready to close on your new home. While this should be a cause for celebration, you’re not exactly out of the woods just yet because there’s still the matter of having to do the final walk-through to make sure everything is how you want it to be before you close. As you’re doing the walk-through, here are some things you should keep in mind as you’re making sure everything is in order.
One very important aspect about the final walk-through is to try and do it 24 hours before your closing. You shouldn’t allow too much time to pass between conducting your walk-through and closing because you never know if anything might happen to the home during the in-between time, and then you return to do the settlement, only to find that the home has suffered some damage since the day of your walk-through. Once your settlement is finalized, any issues become yours and the previous owners won’t have any obligation to handle them. This is why I recommend you do your walkthrough as close as possible to 24 hours before closing. The last thing you need is more stress when you’re near the end of your home-buying journey, so use this tip to avoid any problems right before you intend to close.
When conducting your walk-through, you should have a checklist in hand concerning what to inspect as you’re going through the home. Turn on the heating and air conditioning for a few minutes to make sure they are operable, because the last thing you want to do is move into a home during the summer without a working air conditioner or the winter without sufficient heating. Also, go through all of the appliances (stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc.) to see that they are in working order. Check all of the faucets to make sure you have hot water and water pressure. The smoke detectors must be tested as well. If your home comes equipped with a sprinkler system, test it to make sure it’s functioning. Inspect the basement, attic, and garage to make sure the previous owners have cleaned them out completely. If the garage has an automatic door, test it to make sure it works. Check all of the electrical outlets as well; you can go to your local hardware store and purchase an electrical tester. Given how much modern technology plays a role in our daily lives, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have working outlets in which to plug your laptop, mobile phone, and tablet.
After all of the time it takes to settle into your new home, you don’t want to deal with any home-repair tasks so soon after, so if you find anything major on your walk-through that isn’t working, make sure you ask the previous owners to have it fixed before you move in. If you find a problem in your home, first consider if it’s something that you can handle yourself once you move into your new home, because you don’t want to come across as being pedantic by pointing out easy-to-fix problems that you can take care of upon moving in. There isn’t any point in delaying your settlement over a problem that you can fix yourself, so it’s important to consult with your agent to determine which problems, if you have any, are/aren’t worth going after.
Occasionally, the previous owner won’t move out of the home until the new owners have closed. This is a perfect opportunity for the buyer to ask the owner any questions about the home, which should add some comfort to the buyer because they are communicating with the owner face to face and having their questions answered by the previous occupant. You never know if you’ll need to contact the seller for anything, so you should try to meet them at least once to form a good relationship with them and get to know each other. I’m not saying you have to take them out to dinner, but at least establish a general acquaintance with them.
Although doing a final walk-through might be one of the easier parts about buying a home, you can’t deny the importance of this step. You have to be thorough and attentive to detail when inspecting the home to make sure it meets the standards that you hope for prior to the closing. You have come this close to moving into your new home, so you don’t want to be deterred by problems that you neglected to look for during the walk-through. I know you’re excited to finally move in, but you have to make sure everything in your home is in working order. Once that happens, then you can finally close on the home and celebrate.