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Your Ultimate Checklist for a Perfect Final Walk-Through Before Closing

Buying a new home is one of the most exciting yet nerve-wracking experiences you’ll encounter. The final walk-through is your last chance to ensure everything is as it should be before closing the deal. Whether you’re a homebuyer, real estate investor, or contractor, this checklist will guide you through every detail.

Why a Final Walk-Through is Essential

The final walk-through might seem like a formality, but it's a crucial step in the home buying process. This is your opportunity to verify that all agreed-upon repairs have been made, the property is in the expected condition, and no new issues have arisen since you last saw the house. Think of it as your last line of defense before the keys are officially yours.

Have Repairs and Replacements Been Completed?

First and foremost, ensure that any repairs and replacements negotiated during the purchase process have been completed. Check receipts and warranties to confirm the work was done by professionals and is guaranteed. Walk through each room and inspect the areas where repairs were made. If something doesn't look right, now is the time to bring it up.

Is Everything You Purchased Still There?

When you agreed to purchase the house, certain items were likely included in the sale, such as appliances, light fixtures, or even curtains. Make sure all these items are still present and in working condition. It's not uncommon for sellers to take things that were supposed to stay, either accidentally or intentionally.

Have the Previous Owner’s Items Been Removed?

A final walk-through isn't just about what should be there; it's also about what shouldn’t. Ensure all the previous owner's belongings are removed. Left-behind items can become your responsibility to dispose of, which may incur additional costs and hassle.

Is the House Clean and Damage-Free?

Check the overall cleanliness of the house. A clean home is not only more pleasant; it also makes it easier to spot potential problems. Look for any damage caused by moving out, such as scratches on the floors or dents in the walls. If the movers caused damage, this should be addressed before you close.

Do You Have Copies of Paid Warranties and Bills?

Verify that you have copies of all paid warranties and bills for any recent work done on the home. These documents are your proof that the services were paid for and completed. They also provide valuable information if future repairs are needed.

Have There Been Any Major Changes?

Double-check that no major changes have occurred since your last visit. This could include unauthorized structural changes, unexpected landscaping alterations, or any new damage. These changes can affect the property's value and your decision to proceed with the purchase.

Does the HVAC System Work?

The heating and cooling system is vital for your comfort. Test the HVAC system to ensure it’s working correctly. Turn the thermostat up and down and listen for the system to kick on. Inconsistent temperatures or strange noises could indicate an issue.

Have You Checked the Thermostat?

While inspecting the HVAC system, don’t forget about the thermostat itself. Ensure it's functioning properly and accurately reflects the temperature in your home. An old or faulty thermostat can make your HVAC system less efficient.

Is the Hot Water Heater Working?

Move on to the plumbing, starting with the hot water heater. Turn on the taps and showers to check that hot water is available and that the water pressure is adequate. A malfunctioning hot water heater can be both an inconvenience and a costly repair.

Are Faucets, Drains, and Toilets Functioning?

Inspect all faucets, drains, and toilets. Make sure there are no leaks, and that everything drains properly. Flush toilets to confirm they work well. Plumbing issues can become significant problems if not addressed early.

Are Light Fixtures, Outlets, and Switches Working?

Switch on all light fixtures to confirm they work. Test outlets with a phone charger or other small device. Ensure light switches function correctly. Electrical issues can pose safety hazards and should be fixed immediately.

Is the Smoke Alarm Functioning?

Check that the smoke alarms are present and working. Press the test button on each alarm to ensure it sounds. A working smoke alarm is crucial for your safety and might be required for your homeowner's insurance.

Are the Doorbell and Garage Door Openers Working?

Test the doorbell to make sure it rings. If the property has a garage, check that the garage door opens and closes smoothly with both the remote and wall switch. These small details contribute to everyday convenience.

Is There Any Exposed Wiring?

Walk through the house and check for any exposed wiring. Exposed wires are not only unsightly but can also be dangerous, increasing the risk of electrical fires and shocks. Make sure all wiring is safely tucked away or properly enclosed.

Is the Stove Working?

Next, move on to the kitchen appliances. Turn on the stove to ensure each burner works. Test the oven as well. The kitchen is often the heart of the home, so make sure everything functions as it should.

Are the Washer and Dryer Working?

If the home comes with a washer and dryer, run a quick test cycle on both. Look for any leaks, unusual noises, or operational issues. Laundry facilities are essential, so these appliances need to be in good working order.

Does the Refrigerator Work Properly?

Check the refrigerator and freezer for proper cooling. Listen for any unusual noises and make sure the doors seal tightly. A malfunctioning fridge can lead to spoiled food and costly repairs.

Check the Microwave and Dishwasher

Don’t forget smaller appliances like the microwave and dishwasher. Test the microwave by heating a cup of water, and run the dishwasher through a short cycle to confirm it’s working. These appliances add to the convenience of your home life.

Do All Windows and Doors Function Correctly?

Inspect all windows and doors to ensure they open, close, and lock properly. Malfunctioning windows and doors can affect your home's security and energy efficiency. Check for any drafts or gaps that might need sealing.

Are Locks and Latches Secure?

Double-check the security of all locks and latches. Ensure they are sturdy and functioning. Secure locks are essential for your peace of mind and the safety of your home.

Are Screens or Panes Missing?

Look for any missing screens or broken window panes. These issues can invite pests and affect your home's insulation. Replacing screens and panes can be a simple fix but should be addressed before you move in.

Are All Floors in Good Condition?

Walk through each room and inspect the floors. Check for scratches, stains, or any noticeable damage. Well-maintained floors add to the aesthetic appeal and overall value of your home.

Is There a Noticeable Slope to the Floor?

Pay attention to any noticeable slopes or unevenness in the floors. This could indicate foundational issues that need addressing. While some sloping is normal in older homes, significant changes should be a red flag.

Have All Spaces Been Emptied?

Inspect the basement, crawl space, and attic to ensure they have been emptied of the previous owner's belongings. Left-behind items can become your responsibility and clutter your new home.

Are There Any Cracks or Movement in the Foundation?

Check for any cracks or signs of movement in the foundation. This can be an indicator of more serious structural issues that need immediate attention. A stable foundation is crucial for the longevity and safety of your home.

Is the Basement Dry with a Functioning Sump Pump?

Ensure the basement is dry and free of moisture. Verify that the sump pump is functioning correctly to prevent future flooding issues. A dry basement is essential for preventing mold and maintaining a healthy living environment.

Are There Any Signs of Pests?

Look for any signs of pests in the attic, basement, and crawl space. Pests can cause significant damage and become a health hazard. Ensure that any pest issues are addressed before you move in.

Is the Roof in Good Condition?

Inspect the roof for any missing shingles or signs of wear and tear. A well-maintained roof is essential for protecting your home from weather-related damage. Consider having a professional roofer evaluate its condition if you notice any issues.

Is the Siding in Good Condition?

Check the exterior siding for any damage or decay. Well-maintained siding enhances the curb appeal of your home and protects it from the elements. Repair or replace any damaged areas before moving in.

Are Gutters and Downspouts Working and Clean?

Ensure gutters and downspouts are clean and functioning correctly. Proper drainage prevents water damage to your home's foundation and exterior. Clean and secure gutters are essential for maintaining your home's structural integrity.

Is the Landscaping as Expected?

Finally, take a look at the landscaping. Ensure it meets your expectations and is well-maintained. Proper landscaping adds to your home's beauty and value. Any discrepancies should be discussed with the seller before closing.

Final Thoughts

A thorough final walk-through ensures that your new home is in the condition you expect and ready for you to move in. By following this detailed checklist, you can address any last-minute issues and avoid unpleasant surprises. Remember, this is your last chance to ensure everything is perfect before you make one of the biggest investments of your life.

For more personalized guidance, consider booking a call with one of our experienced real estate professionals. We can help you refine your checklist and provide expert advice to ensure a smooth transition into your new home. Happy house hunting!

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