Buying a home involves a lot of legally required steps, but the steps that aren’t required can be just as important. Case in point: your final walkthrough checklist.
About 24 hours before your closing date, you and your real estate agent will have the opportunity to, you guessed it, walk through the home and make sure everything is aligned with what you’ve agreed to purchase. This could include a lot of easy-to-forget details, so we recommend bringing our final walkthrough checklist along to ensure you don’t miss anything that matters to you.
The must-have home buyer’s final walkthrough checklist
- Check locks on windows, doors, and gates
- Make sure windows, doors, and gates open and close properly
- Confirm appliances are functional
- Check for mold (especially in damp areas like under sinks)
- Test all electrical outlets
- Test the thermostat and HVAC system
- Check floors, walls, and ceilings for damage
- Look for signs of pests, like mice and ants
- Make sure the irrigation system is functional
- Make sure all agreed-upon repairs have been completed
Your final walkthrough is an important step to take before closing on your home. Make the most of it with our final walkthrough checklist.
1. Check locks on windows, doors, and gates
There’s no feeling quite like being home, safe and sound. So, it’s important to check all the locks throughout the home before closing (closing on your home, not closing the doors). Locks on doors and windows that lead outside are the most critical, but for privacy’s sake, you’ll want to make sure any internal locks are functional as well (especially if you have little ones that tend to explore where they shouldn’t).
2. Make sure windows, doors, and gates open and close properly
All the working locks in the world won’t make much difference if the access points themselves don’t open and close properly. Warmer weather can often cause doors and windows to retain more moisture and swell. So, if you’re buying a home when it’s cooler, keep in mind that a minor mobility issue now could become a much bigger problem later. On the other hand, properly sealed doors and windows are a must-have to lower energy bills during the winter. Ultimately, your doors and windows need to close tightly and open smoothly. Goldilocks was onto something.
3. Confirm appliances are functional
If your purchase agreement includes keeping the appliances that are already installed in the home, those appliances need to be in working order. This includes checking that the sellers haven’t left anything behind, like food in the refrigerator or clothes in the dryer.
4. Check for mold
This is a must-have for any final walkthrough checklist! Mold is the last thing you want to deal with when you move in, so check thoroughly before closing for any signs. Pay extra-close attention to damp areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and cabinets under sinks. If your home has a pool, it’s important to check for mold and mildew in and around the pool as well.
5. Test all electrical outlets
With so many appliances essential to our everyday lives, access to functional outlets throughout your home is a must-have. One of the easiest ways to confirm that your new home’s outlets are usable is to bring a phone charger with you to your final walkthrough. Simply test each outlet by charging your phone for a few seconds. Remember that some outlets may be connected to a switch, so make sure all switches are on before you write off any plugs as nonfunctional.
6. Test the thermostat and HVAC system
Especially if you live somewhere with extreme seasonal weather changes, your thermostat and HVAC system are vital to a pleasant homeownership experience. Before closing, check the filter, check the ducts, and set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature. Listen for any unexpected noises as your AC or heating system kicks in (and of course, make sure the temperature is able to stay where you want it).
7. Check floors, walls, and ceilings for damage
This one may seem like it goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to overlook the obvious with so much going on during the purchase process. So, during your final walkthrough, take a close look at all the floors, walls, and ceilings of the home for any damage beyond what you’ve already agreed to repair.
8. Look for signs of pests
When it comes to what to look for in a final walkthrough, signs of common pests are especially important. This could include bite marks, droppings, nests in gutters, and small openings that need to be patched.
9. Make sure the irrigation system is functional
If your home includes a sprinkler system, give it a test run during your final walkthrough. It’s vital to know before move-in if there are maintenance issues that haven’t been addressed or disclosed up to this point. For something as major as the irrigation system, it could affect the purchase price.
10. Confirm all agreed-upon repairs have been completed
Your purchase agreement likely includes a contingency clause that requires the seller to complete certain repairs before you move in. If this is the case, your final walkthrough is a great time to check that these repairs have been completed and the seller has upheld their part of the contract.
Is there anything else to look for in my final walkthrough?
Since the final walkthrough is mainly to ensure everything is in line with your purchase agreement, your exact final walkthrough checklist will be unique to you. In very broad strokes: Make sure everything works, everything that’s supposed to be there is there, and everything that’s not supposed to be there has been removed.
Oh, and if the home includes additions like a storage shed or detached garage, don’t forget to apply the same checklist to those structures as well!