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Final Home Inspection Walk-Through

Final walk-throughs are not a home inspection. It's not a time to begin negotiations with the seller to do repairs, nor is it a contingency. A final walk-through is an inspection performed anywhere from a few hours to five days before closing, and its primary purpose is to make certain that the property is in the condition you agreed to buy -- that agreed-upon repairs, if any, were made and nothing has gone wrong with the home since you last looked at it.

Tallent Title Group, Inc. Final Home Inspection Walk-Through

Buyers are often pressed for time as the day draws near for closing, which means buyers can be tempted to pass on the final walk-through. It is never a good idea to forgo the final walk-through.

Vacant Home

Sellers often move out before closing. Ever watch HGTV's House Hunters and try to guess which home the buyers will choose? Well, I'll let you in on a secret. It's the vacant house! Trust me, nine times out of 10, it's the vacant one. That's because they film the show backwards, starting with the house the buyer purchased, just before it closes escrow.

Now, in situations where the seller has already moved out, it is even more imperative that buyers conduct a final walk-through. Problems arise when homes sit vacant for any period of time. For example, when termite companies test showers, they plug the shower drain and let the water run. Guess what happens if the termite inspector forgets to remove all the paper over the drain and doesn't completely turn off the shower handle? A small drip, drip, drip can turn into a flooded bathroom. You don't want to find out your home is flooded after you buy it.

Here is a list of items to check on a final walk-through:

  • Turn on and off every light fixture
  • Run water & look under sinks for leaks
  • Test all appliances
  • Check garage door openers
  • Open and close all doors
  • Flush toilets
  • Inspect ceilings, wall and floors
  • Run garbage disposal and exhaust fans
  • Test heating and air conditioning
  • Open and close windows
  • Make sure all debris is removed from the home
When The Home Is Occupied

Sometimes sellers don't move out until the day the transaction closes or even a few days after closing. In those situations, I recommend that buyers do a final walk-through in the presence of the seller. Why? Because the seller knows all the little quirks about the home and can answer questions the buyers may have.

A good question to ask a seller is "What is the one improvement you've always wanted but never got around to implementing?".

This is also a good time to ask the seller for a forwarding address so the buyers can send mail. It's smart to stay on good terms with the seller and, in some parts of the country, like California, buyers almost never meet the sellers. Moreover, because you never know when you might need to get in touch with the former owners, the final walk-through is an excellent opportunity, as strange as this may sound, for the parties to say hello.

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