Real Estate Basics – Never, Ever, Ever, Ever Fail to do a Final Walk Thru Prior Closing

So you have made it through the various steps of the transaction! You signed the contract. Paid your earnest money. Completed inspections, Applied for and received your loan approval. Your closing is scheduled to occur tomorrow, or the day after. What now? It’s too early for celebration for certain as that cannot start until after your attorney tells you the loan is “funded” and you are the proud owner of your new home. Because now comes a very critical element to the transaction. Before coming to closing you need to test out the product – so to speak! We call it the “final walk thru.” It is the buyer’s opportunity to visit the property one last time before closing the transaction and make sure the home is in the same condition it was at the beginning of the transaction. Here are some important factors in the final walk thru:

1. Ideally you schedule the walk thru immediately preceding the closing. The morning of or the evening before;
2. Run all the mechanicals:
a. Make sure the light turns on in the fridge.
b. Open and close the garage door (a few times).
c. Turn on the faucets in each bathroom and the kitchen and check the water pressure, that the hot water
runs hot and that the drain drains.
d. Check every light switch and every outlet that it works;
e. Open and close all the windows in the home (within reason of course if there is a snowstorm or rainstorm
f. Run the air conditioning (weather permitting – a huge no-no in winter) and the furnace;
g. And so on and so on.
3. Check the attic, basement or crawl space for moisture;
4. For single family homes and properties with yards walk the grounds to make sure the exterior is secured;
5. When walking the exterior look for flags or monuments at corners placed by the surveyor to explore the lot perimeter;
6. For homes with a sump pump check this if it functions;
7. Check the fuse box for circuit breakers that may have “popped”;
8. For homes that may have been empty for any period of time check for any unwanted visitors like mice or even raccoons;
9. Bring your contract with you and make sure all the personal property marked on the contract (fridge, washer, dryer, etc.) that was supposed to stay with the home is at the premises; and
10. Check for any obvious signs of damage or hidden defects that may have been covered by area rugs, furniture, pictures hung on walls, storage spaces or garage.

The above list is by no stretch of the imagination comprehensive. It is a starting point that needs to be amended to fit the property, the buyer and scenario. If you have a realtor she can certainly assist with this. If you feel comfortable brining your uncle the contractor – do it. If you want your home inspector with you – have them with you.