Before closing on a property, it’s important to have a final walkthrough. This is a chance to go through the property, have a final look at everything, and make sure any previously agreed upon actions have been taken (like repairs).
In order to properly prepare for the walkthrough, it’s important to agree with the seller upon specific terms of your purchase and set up a time you both can go through the house together in order to make sure those terms have been met. It’s preferable to do this final walkthrough just a day or two before closing, and to have the house vacated when you do it.
Have a checklist prepared stating what repairs have been agreed upon, what appliances or other items should be left behind, what should be removed, and anything else that needs to be checked. Use the contract as a reference, and provide the seller with a copy of your checklist. The final walkthrough is not the time to negotiate these sorts of details; that should already be done.
As you walk through the property, it’s important to inspect everything: light fixtures, sinks, appliances, all doors (include the garage door), toilets, ceilings, floors, walls, heating, air conditioning (regardless of the season), windows, and anything else you can think of. In general, you’re looking for the property to be in the same condition (or even better) than when you agreed to buy it.
If there are any repairs that have not been completed, or if there are previously unseen significant problems, you may need to postpone your final closing. Work with the seller to set a new timeline; this is also a chance to walk away from the property altogether if you so choose.
The final walkthrough is one of the most important parts of the buying process. By being educated about the process and properly preparing, you can avoid a lot of future trouble.