Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as "Credible" below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders, all opinions are our own.
Before you close on a home, you need to complete one last step. (iStock)
You’ve made it to the end of the homebuying process — congratulations! Before you close on your home, there’s one last step: the final walk-through.
This is a crucial part of the process, as it helps you ensure everything in the home is in good shape, as expected. After all, you’re on the hook for any repairs once you own the home.
Here’s a new home final walk-through checklist to help ensure you inspect everything you need to.
What’s a final walk-through?
The final walk-through is the last chance you, the buyer, have to get a good look at the home and acknowledge and address any issues before closing. You’ll use the final walk-through to confirm that:
- Any requested repairs are complete.
- No new maintenance issues have occurred since the inspection.
- All fixtures and furniture that are in the contract are still in the home.
- Systems and appliances throughout the home are still functioning properly if they were identified as functioning.
Double-checking all these elements can ensure you don’t discover any inconvenient surprises after you move in. Keep in mind that issues may arise during the move-out process; you may find a new scuff or two after the seller moves out, but no major issues should appear between the initial inspection and final walk-through.
If you’re still shopping around for a mortgage, check out Credible to compare mortgage rates from various lenders.
When does the final walk-through happen?
Generally, it’s best to have your final walk-through happen as close to closing on the home as possible.
You should plan to do your final walk-through two to three days ahead of closing. At this point, the seller’s belongings should be moved out, which will make it easier for you to inspect the entire home carefully and reveal any issues concealed by furniture or appliances. Plus, you’ll feel less invasive poking around without the seller’s personal belongings in the home.
Who should be present during the final walk-through?
Only you and your real estate agent need to attend the final walk-through. You can request that the seller joins you, but this is fairly uncommon. If the seller attends, their real estate agent should come too.
You can also choose to have the home inspector and anyone who worked on any repairs post-inspection come to the final walk-through. If you request that these professionals attend, you may have to pay an additional charge — but these costs can be well worth it to ensure that all repairs are complete and correct before you close on the home.
What to look for during the final walk-through
A final walk-through is not another home inspection (remember, the home inspector isn’t required to attend the walk-through). Think of a final walk-through as dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s. Ideally, you won’t bring up entirely new issues at this stage, as you or the inspector should’ve already discovered them. The point of the final walk-through is to ensure that the house reflects the condition it was in when you made the offer.
Make sure the seller's possessions are gone, anything you purchased is still in the home (appliances, furniture, etc.), repairs that were agreed upon have been completed and there are no new problems. When doing your walk-through, confirm that everything in the home is working and there’s no new cosmetic damage. Key points to check include:
- Do all the toilets flush?
- Were all personal effects removed from the home?
- Do the sinks drain?
- Does the air conditioning work?
Take your time to make sure everything is as it should be — this is your last chance to negotiate repairs if you need to.
Credible makes it easy for homebuyers to compare mortgage rates from various lenders.
Exterior walk-through checklist
While it’s easy to focus on the many interior details of the home, be sure to also carefully inspect the exterior of the home for any issues. Does the garage door open and the doorbell work? Did you notice any signs of pests, like rodent droppings or decayed wood from termites? Confirm anything that needs to "work," like a barbecue or outdoor light fixture, does in fact function properly.
This new home final walk-through checklist for the exterior elements of your home will help ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
- Patio areas
- Driveway and walkway
- Outside paint
- Fire pit
- Built-in grill
Garage and outdoor fixtures
- Garage door
- Outdoor lights
- Signs of pests
- Leftover chemicals, cans of paint, cement mix, etc.
Interior walk-through checklist
You’ll need to carefully inspect the interior of the home too. Run any sinks, showers and bathtubs to check for leaks and drainage issues. Take note if any of the faucets leak when you run them or if water pools at the base of the toilet after flushing it.
Plug your phone charger into all the electrical outlets to make sure they work. Open every door and window to check that they function properly and aren’t sticking. Test every element of the home to make sure everything is working as it should. This may sound like a tedious process, but it’s much better to discover any issues now rather than later.
This new home interior final walk-through checklist breaks down the top interior elements you should check carefully.
Doors and windows
- Garbage disposal
- Bathtubs and showers
Bedrooms and living room
- Ceiling fans
- Closet doors
- Smoke detectors
- Light fixtures
- Electrical outlets
- Utility sink
Heating and cooling
- Ceiling fans
- Water heater
Basement and attic
- Water damage
What to do if you find problems
For the most part, you shouldn’t discover any brand-new issues with the home at the final walk-through. If you do find an issue during your final walk-through, talk to your real estate agent about your next steps. They’ll likely reach out to the seller’s agent.
If there are major issues, you may need to delay closing on the home until they’re resolved. For minor issues, it may make more sense to negotiate for compensation to finish the repairs yourself at your own pace.
If the seller doesn’t agree to a solution that works for you, you can back out of the home purchase. But at this very late stage in the game, all parties want to see the sale go through. Chances are, you’ll be able to come to a resolution that works for both of you.
If you need help finding the right mortgage for you, check out Credible to compare mortgage rates from different lenders.