About to Close on a Home? Here’s Your Final Walkthrough Cheat Sheet

published Jun 22, 2021
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Credit: Photo by Gleren Meneghin on Unsplash

In this current red-hot housing market, buying a home is an exhilarating experience. From the heart-stopping moment your offer is accepted, you and your real estate agent will have your hands full with all of the little things you’ll need to attend to before closing.

One of the most important things to get a handle on is the state of your new home. A home inspector will do the heavy lifting for you, but it’s worth double-checking things on your own, too. To ensure you’re buying a home that meets your expectations, be sure to examine the house from top to bottom during the pre-close walkthrough. 

Not sure what to look for? Here’s what to keep your eyes peeled for during your final walkthrough, according to Demond McClellan of eXp Realty, and agents Julie Newdow and Mark Landisman with Compass.

The Pre-Close Walkthrough Checklist

  • Check that no stains or smells are lingering in the home, especially if the previous owner had a pet.
  • deliveries are delayed. You’ll want numbers for your couch, bed, and dining table, as they’re generally among the largest items you’ll transport. 
  • Speaking of transport, measure door frames and first-floor windows in case you’ll have to move an unwieldy item through them.
  • Check all major appliances to ensure that they are in working order. Turn on the heat, test the cooling, open the refrigerator, try out the stove, and more. Anything that you’ll be keeping should be checked. 
  • Open and close all windows. Keep an eye out for any stuck frames, cracks, or strong drafts. 
  • Look behind furniture and pick up large accessories. These items may be blocking damage or other issues. 
  • Bring a phone charger and test all outlets — every last one. (Most importantly, the one right by your future bed!)
  • Assess the water pressure by flushing toilets, turning on showers, and briefly running faucets. 
  • Check out all locks in the home. You should change out all the locks once you move in, but in the meantime, all current locks should be in working order.
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If possible, ask about the last time these devices had their batteries changed. 
  • Look out for signs of mold or water damage near sinks, laundry areas, and bathrooms, as well as for water spots on ceilings. 

Some Extra Walkthrough Advice from the Experts

There are things you can do before and after your walkthrough to maximize your time. McClellan, for example, says to schedule the final walkthrough during the afternoon before closing. “This strategy provides a little more time to address any issues that may come up without jeopardizing the closing,” he says.

After the closing, don’t just make mental notes of what needs extra attention. “You want to check the same items above and report any malfunctions, broken items, or missing items to your attorney,” says Newdow. “You’ll want to confirm that the property is in the same condition that you witnessed when you first saw it and signed the contract.”

And finally, have your phone ready before and after the final tour. “Taking pictures can be a helpful strategy,” Landisman says. “You want to document the condition of the home during the walkthrough and create a record of any issues or concerns you come across.”

The bottom line? Take your walkthrough as an invitation to dot your i’s and cross your t’s.