You’ve navigated major hurdles in your home purchase journey and you’re under contract. You’re excited for the final walkthrough but nervous that you might do something to cause the sale to fall apart. So you ask:
Why even HAVE a final walkthrough?
Could it cause a delay—a critical error so late in the game?
If I skip it, will I miss a problem that’s expensive to fix?
“I always recommend a final walkthrough,” says Central Texas REALTOR® Kirbi Barbosa. “You want to make sure the condition of the home is the same as when you decided to buy it in the first place and that repairs you were promised are done. It typically only takes about 30 minutes, which is time well spent. You should put eyes on the house before you sign final papers.”
Don’t be afraid that the final walkthrough will work against you. Be prepared with our simple tips for walkthrough success:
#1—Schedule the walkthrough when your inspector can come along.
If major repairs were recommended, he or she can check that fixes were done right. There will likely be a fee for the inspector to join you, but an expert set of eyes on the situation will be invaluable.
#2—Consider your timing.
Schedule the walkthrough about 2 to 3 days before signing escrow papers to give the seller time to address any final repair issues that might come up—but not too much time that would allow new problems to crop up and cause a delay.
#3—Bring your contract with you.
This will list any repairs that were agreed upon, so you can check each one to assure it was done. The contract will also list what items “convey” with the sale (are left behind in the house)—like appliances, furniture, or equipment.
#4—Choose a guide.
Rely on an experienced broker to accompany you for advice about any issues that come up. You’ll be asked to sign a form saying you’re ready to close escrow after the inspection—take that seriously. It means you want nothing else to be fixed.
#5—Ask for repair receipts.
Ask for the sellers’ receipts from contractors who performed major repairs so you have documentation about when the repair was done and contact info for who performed it. Some repairs can’t be easily visibly checked (like underground plumbing)—a receipt will provide accountability for the fix.
If you’re worried about hidden problems, purchase a home warranty so you’re covered for unforeseen repairs starting on the day you move in.
Sojourn Real Estate agents have performed thousands of walkthroughs. They have the knowledge and experience to help you make the right call if you have questions or concerns during the walkthrough. They also have the experience necessary to advise you about when it’s time to stick it out or walk away.
In short: Don’t fear the walkthrough. There will be things you didn’t notice initially, but there’s no need to panic. At this point, you’ve probably had inspections and an appraisal, so chances are that there isn’t a major problem looming.
This final look-see will give you and your REALTOR® a chance to make sure everything in the home is good to go.
Worst Case Scenario
Minor fixes that are requested during a walkthrough aren’t typically a game-changer. To avoid rocking the boat, be prepared to fix normal wear-and-tear items yourself.
But if you see major damage that’s occurred since you last saw the home or are unhappy with major repairs that took place, you do have options. Your broker can advise you about how to negotiate solutions—and whether you can walk away from the contract with a refund of your earnest money. He or she can also let you know if involving a real estate attorney might be wise in order to make sure you’re protected.