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Home Buyers Guide: Important Checklist for a Final Walk Through

What an exciting day; the day you close on your new home! A few days before, your Realtor had called to schedule the date and time of the final walk-through. You thought, “This is great! I needed to check the paint color in the bedroom and measure the windows for blinds.” But that is not what the final walk-through is for. This is the last opportunity for you to see the home prior to closing. It is an appointment not to be missed or glossed over. It is a time to stay focused on your investment and examine the condition of the property one last time.

The purchase agreement that you sign in the state of Minnesota requires the seller to warrant that the central air conditioning, heating, plumbing and wiring systems on the property are in working order on the date of closing. It also insures you the rights to a “walk-through” review of the property prior to closing. This is not something to forego.

Last year there was a news report of first-time buyers who headed with all of their belongings directly to their new home after closing. They intended to move right in and enjoy their dream home but arrived to find a nightmare. Sometime since seeing the home and writing a purchase agreement, a pipe had burst and flooded the entire home. They had considered the final walk-through unnecessary since they had just seen the home days ago. Now they were the proud but frustrated owners of a huge mess. Although they do have legal remedies for having the home repaired, these buyers would have been in a much better position if they negotiated with the seller prior to closing. Or in the case of this extreme damage, the buyers could have not signed the final documents to purchase the home.

Every buyer should do a final walk-through on the home as close to the closing as possible. I suggest to my clients that we schedule the walk-through immediately prior to the closing. We meet one hour before at the home to review the condition of the property and then go directly to the closing. Any problems are noted and I immediately contact the seller’s agent so they have time to discuss the situation with their seller before our arrival.

The walk-through just prior to closing doesn’t eliminate every surprise that a new buyer might face. But it significantly reduces the chance of closing on an unknown disaster. Here is a checklist you can use as a guide to remind you of  the things to check during your final inspection of the home.

Final Walk-Through Checklist

Double Check the Paperwork
Do you have a copy of the sellers’ disclosure?   
Do you have all required/requested inspection reports?
Have you checked with the city to verify that all permits were issued for repairs and other information on the home’s history?
Are all work orders complete? Are you satisfied with the results?

Exterior Review
Check steps, sidewalks, driveways and patios for any noticeable change.
Review drains, downspouts and gutters for change.
Look at all doors and windows to verify they are in the same condition.
Check the roof for changes…do any shingles appear loose or missing?
Check the garage door? Do the openers work? Is the auto-reverse functional?
Check for any noticeable leaking in garage.
Double check garage and exterior lights.

Plumbing Review
Flush all toilets.
Check all faucets both hot and cold for water pressure and temperature.
Watch all traps and drains for proper drainage.
Check operation of all appliances:
    Washer/Dryer
    Stove
    Dishwasher 
    Water Heater
    Water Softener
    Refrigerator
    Garbage Disposal
    Trash Compactor

 If there is an in-ground sprinkling system or swimming pool, verify that it is in proper working order.

Electrical Review
Check all lights, outlets, bathroom fans and kitchen fans.
Verify that all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, security systems and door bells are functioning.

Furnace and Air Conditioning Review
Increase home thermostat on furnace to verify proper operation.
Test air conditioning by lowering thermostat if outdoor temperature is above 65 degrees to verify air conditioning is operating.
Check that gas fireplaces are operating properly.

Basement Review
Check for changes in any stained, damp or wet areas.
Verify that there are no new wall or floor cracks.
Is the sump pump operational?

A quick review of the home inside and out with a checklist will get you back to exciting part of that final walk-through…Will the couch look better here or there?


Teri Eckholm
 REALTOR
®

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Theresa "Teri" Eckholm is a Licensed real estate agent in the State of Minnesota
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