New House Walk-Through Simplified

by on June 26, 2012Shannon O'Brien

house buying checklistAlthough it bears an ominous-sounding name, the final walk-through is actually a blessing for homebuyers. It typically occurs 24 hours before closing, especially if the home is still occupied.

This is your final chance to inspect the home to ensure that it is in the same condition as when you agreed to purchase it, that the seller has completed all requested repairs, that all personal items included in the sale are, indeed, in place and that there is no new damage to the home.

Final Walk-Through Checklist

Two tips to make sure the inspection goes off without a hitch:

  • Call your agent a week before the scheduled final walk-through to make sure that all utilities remain on.


  • Bring along a camera to document any issues.

Check Repairs

  • Have all requested repairs been made according to the purchase agreement? Tip: Bring along a professional to inspect the repairs.


  • Did the seller leave all permits, warranties and receipts for you?


Check Appliances and Major Systems

  • Start the dishwasher and allow it to complete the cycle while you check the rest of the home.


  • Switch on the driveway heater and allow it to warm up during your inspection.


  • Turn on the air-conditioner and set the thermostat. Does the unit shut off when the room reaches that temperature?


  • Is the air-conditioning pumping out cool air?


  • Turn on the heater and check the thermostat as you did with the air-conditioning system.


  • Turn on ceiling fans and test the various speeds.


  • Turn on the hot water on all faucets. Does the water get hot?


  • Test the doorbell.


  • Test the alarm system.


  • Open and close the garage door using both the remote and the button on the wall in the garage.


  • Turn on all burners on the stove and check that the oven is functioning.


  • Test the microwave.


  • Does the gas fireplace work?


  • Does the dryer work?


  • Flick the switch on the garbage disposer to ensure that it works.


  • Check all electric outlets to ensure they are getting power. Tip: Bring a small electrical appliance or desk lamp with you to test the home’s power outlets.


  • In California, check to make sure the water heater is properly strapped.


Is the Personal Property Included in the Sale Functioning?

  • Is the refrigerator cold? Does the freezer work?


  • Start the washing machine and allow it to cycle.


  • Turn on the dryer and allow it to work long enough to determine that it gets warm.


  • Check all lighting.


  • Test window coverings.


  • Check furnishings.


  • Turn on the jets and the heater in the hot tub/spa.


  • Ensure that the play equipment or structures were left and that they are in the same condition as when you made the offer to purchase the home.


  • Ensure that the seller left all the owner’s manuals for appliances and home systems (air-conditioning, heating, fireplace units, alarm systems, etc.).


Windows, Walls and Doors

  • Are any windows broken?


  • Do the windows operate properly?


  • Do all windows have screens?


  • Are there rips, tears or other damage to the screens?


  • Do the doors open and close properly?


  • Are there any missing storm windows?


  • Check the walls from ceiling to floor for gouges, scrapes and other defects that weren’t there when you made the offer to purchase.



  • Do the windows have signs of mold?


  • Are there signs of mold or water damage under the kitchen sink?


  • Are there signs of mold or water damage in the bathroom?


  • Are there signs of mold or water damage around appliances, such as the refrigerator, washer/dryer and water heater?


Check the Home’s Exterior Features

  • Visually inspect the roof, shutters and siding on the home’s exterior. Are there any changes since you agreed to purchase the home?


  • Turn on the irrigation system and follow it around the yard to ensure there are no leaks.
  • Do all exterior lights function?


  • Did the driveway heater turn on and remain warm?


  • Test the lights and electrical outlets in the garage.


  • Shake the railings on decks, porches and stairs to make sure they don’t wobble.


  • Is all the landscaping intact?



  • Ensure that all smoke detectors remain in the ceiling.


  • Did the seller leave the remote control devices for pool heater, ceiling fans, alarms, and garage doors?


  • Is the home clean? In most regions homes should be left in “broom swept” condition and sellers must remove all garbage and personal property.


  • Before you leave the house: Did you turn off the irrigation system; HVAC system; and driveway, pool and spa heaters?


At Closing

If repair or other issues come up, and your agent hasn’t been able to reach the seller or his agent, request compensation at closing.

This is also the time to make sure you have all the keys to every lock in the house, basement, garage and shed, as well as mailbox, pool, clubhouse and other miscellaneous keys if you purchased a condo.

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