The Secret of Real Estate Final Walk-Through Success

Before you close on the purchase of your home you have one more chance to view the interior of the house you are about to buy.  Don’t waste it.

This is the final walk-through and it is your chance to ensure that the house you are buying is the one you agreed to buy when you signed the offer to purchase.

I’ve noticed that how my clients approach the walk-through is a mixed bag. Some treat it with all the seriousness it deserves, while others offer nary a glance as they speed through the home.

So, what should a buyer be on the lookout for during the final walk-through?


First, you should attempt to conduct the final walk-through as close to the closing as possible.  The goal here is to reduce or eliminate the chance that something can change between the time you look at the property and when you sign the final HUD.  Aim for hours, not days, and ideally, the final walk-through should literally be done on the way to the closing table thereby eliminating the chance that the property can change.

If the seller agreed to make certain repairs, check first to ensure that those repairs were, in fact, made, to the specifications outlined in the purchase and sale agreement. If checking these repairs requires water, gas or electricity, and those services have been shut off, don’t close the escrow until the services are reinstated and you can perform your inspection.

Next, make sure that the rest of the house is in the same condition as when you made the offer. Go through each room and look for recent major damage, such as to walls, baseboards and flooring. Check the attic and basement to ensure the seller didn’t leave behind their unwanted junk. If appliances were included in the sale, check to ensure they are in working condition; run the dishwasher through an entire cycle, check that the icemaker in the freezer is in working order and that the refrigerator remains cold.

Check the plumbing by flushing toilets and running both cold and hot water through all of the faucets. Turn on the heater, then the air conditioner.

I once had a client that moved into her home only to find that the garbage disposer was missing. The sellers took it with them. So, tinker with everything you need to tinker with to assure yourself that all is as it should be.

The home should be at least swept clean – this is oftentimes called “broom clean” condition. If it’s not, request that the seller have it cleaned before you close escrow.

Don’t neglect the exterior of the home. Check that the sprinkler or other irrigation system is in working order. If there’s a timer, did the seller leave the instruction booklet? If not, ask your agent to get it from the listing agent or have the sellers buy you a new one.

Run pool and hot tub equipment, including heaters, lights and filters. Do you understand how to use the control panel for these items? If not, ask your agent to get this information from the seller.

After you’ve signed the closing papers, this house, and any problems, belongs to you. The time for due diligence will have come and gone and you may have little recourse for items you find after the sale. Take your time during the final walk-through, listen to your real estate agent’s advice and you can go to the closing table confident that you are getting what you’re paying for.