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Walk-Through Advice

The purpose of a final walk-through is to make sure that except for normal wear and tear, the property you’re purchasing is in the same condition as the time you completed your home inspection and agreed to the contract terms. Ideally, you should walk-through the property when the seller has already moved everything out and before closing. How long might the final walk-through take? Typically this is anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the size of the home.

The list of items you check on a final walk-through depends in part on the terms of your contract, your personal needs and more general factors. If an appliance or system was inoperable at the time of inspection, you must have then negotiated its repair or a credit from the seller and that agreement must be written into the contract of sale. Otherwise, the condition would most likely be deemed “as is.”

If you come from an apartment and are moving to a property that will require outside maintenance, you may be happy to have the seller leave old tools or gardening implements not asking that everything be removed from the house. Otherwise typically it is to be expected that a home is to be left “broom-clean.”

In general what do you check out on the walk-through?


Make sure all appliances work: burners and oven in range, microwave if it’s included, refrigerator and freezer, air conditioners, dishwasher, washer and dryer, lights and fans, etc.
Garage door openers still open the doors and safety devices still stop their descent
Flush toilets and listen to be sure they stop running
Check floors walls and ceilings for previously masked large holes or serious scratches and mars
Check out closets too for uncollected debris
Try out the garbage disposal, if one exists
Operate the hood fan if one exists
Test heating and air conditioning
Open and close windows and doors
Make sure all debris is removed from the home, especially oil based paints and cleaning products unless you intend to use these yourself
Check all switches and light fixtures
Run all faucets and showerheads as well as pipes underneath sinks for drips or leaks
Make sure that the basement and attic are empty


Check that windows open and close and glass is not broken or fogged
Be sure that gutters are clear enough to allow the flow of water
The lawn should be mowed, no trees or limbs have fallen and hedges be trimmed
If your new home has a garage you should make sure that it has been cleaned out with the exception of those things that you have agreed to be left behind
Be sure that if there is a load of furniture or junk waiting at the foot of the driveway that the seller has scheduled a special garbage pick-up and that it is a part of municipal services or that he or she has been billed for it

Your broker or the sellers should attend the final walk-through. If you do find something wrong with the home, it’s helpful to have someone there who can testify to the damage. Some people prefer to have a professional inspector walk through the home with them.

As you inspect, make a checklist of any issues that still need to be resolved in order to meet the conditions in your contract. Your agent should bring this to the attention of the seller’s agent and work out acceptable remedies. If this turns out to be impossible because a repair may take more time than is available before closing, don’t worry.  It is not uncommon for buyers and sellers to agree on an amount of money to be held in escrow for repairs/remedies to be completed following closing.  Your attorney will help you with this.

It’s apparent that a final walk-through is a very important step, one that should not be skipped or taken lightly. Protect yourself by taking the time for a thorough final walk-through.