Buying a Home: The Final Walk-Through Before Closing

Buying a Home: The Final Walk-Through Before Closing

When I was in the mortgage biz, I learned a lot about the real estate industry, most of which was labeled in acronyms. PITI, DTI, LTV, FHA, VA, RD…and the list goes on and on. So you probably wouldn’t think that one of the most important things I learned had nothing to do with finance, but that was the case.

You see, one of the biggest things I learned had to do with the real estate portion of a loan closing: buyers should try to complete a final property walk-through on the day of closing. This final walk-through can help minimize problems before they become an issue. How? Well let’s take a look.

What is a Final Walk-Through?

Before we jump into why a final walk-through is beneficial, we have to define what a final walk-through is. Basically, on the day of closing, you as the buyer have the option to look at the house one more time before you sign the papers to take ownership. Often, your realtor will arrange this, but if she doesn’t suggest it, you might have to bring it up.

When you and the realtor walk through the house one last time before the home is deeded to you, you can check to see if anything is missing or damaged. Sometimes, in the course of the weeks that lead up to closing, pipes could burst or other issues may arise. Getting the seller to cover these costs after the ownership changes can be more difficult than before you’re wielding the mighty pen.

What to Look For

While you walk through the home, you may want to look for common problems. Let’s say you agreed to buy some furniture in the home deal; in this case, you may need to make sure all pieces were left. Other common issues could include broken windows or burst pipes. Uncommon issues could include the home being stripped of everything, including appliances, kitchen cabinets and light bulbs (seriously, I’ve seen this happen!). I’ve also seen copper pipes stripped from homes, so you may wish to check those as well.

Additionally, you might wish to ensure that the heat, electricity and water are all up and running. If you did your due diligence and called the utilities ahead of time, all should be functioning properly, but while you’re in the home, it’s a great time to check. That way, if the utilities are not working, you can make adjustments to your move schedule before the truck is loaded.

Hopefully your walk-through will be uneventful; thankfully, most are. However, on the rare chance that the home experienced damage or was stripped before you take possession, walking through the home a final time can help you avoid unwanted headaches (and help you move in as effortlessly as possible).

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MoneyCone's picture

MoneyCone wrote:

Thu, 12/01/2011 - 14:29 Comment #: 1

Also, in the excitement, don't forget to stand firm and get any repairs that needs to get done. You are the one with the money!

femmefrugality's picture

femmefrugality wrote:

Fri, 12/02/2011 - 00:33 Comment #: 2

Great tip. It's one of those things you'd never think of if you've never bought a home before.

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Fri, 12/02/2011 - 16:50 Comment #: 3

Exactly, MoneyCone! When you have the cash and have not signed the papers yet, you're in much more control over how much of the repairs the owner of record (the seller) will owe.

FemmeFrugality, thanks! When I bought my first home, it was a whirlwind process, and the realtor was the one to remind us of the final walk through. Thankfully, everything was in place!

Finance links round-up « Leigh's Financia's picture

Finance links round-up « Leigh's Financia wrote:

Sat, 12/03/2011 - 17:01 Comment #: 4

[...] at MomVesting reminds us that you should do a final walk-through before closing on a home. This is a great tip that I didn’t know about, though hopefully my real estate agent would [...]