DC HOME BUYERS FINAL WALKTHROUGH

Final walkthrough is a key part of your home purchase. Conduct a final walkthrough before attending settlement. This is done to verify that the home is in ‘substantially the same condition’ as the date of contract or inspection, that everything intended to convey is still in place and that the seller has not left unwanted items behind for you to dispose of at your expense.

Your Final Walkthrough Is Not An Inspection
Your final walk through is not a home inspection performed by a professional home inspector (this should have been accomplished during the initial phase of the contract period), however, a re-inspection can be considered a final walk-through, especially if conducted within 5 days of settlement. Home buyers should still walk the home the morning of settlement even if a rein spection is performed.
Make Time For Your Final Walkthrough
Block out the time necessary to give the property a good going-over. Open and close windows and doors, make sure appliances are in working order, run water, flush toilets, turn lights on and off. Operate the HVAC system as weather permits. Check floors and walls for new damage. You’re looking for significant changes from the condition of the home since contract or inspection, not small cosmetics, but rushing through a walkthrough could lead to an unpleasant surprise when you return with the keys. Give yourself an hour to make a complete visual inspection.
Scheduling Your Final Walkthrough
Since the implementation of TRID on October 3 2015, a final walk through should no longer be scheduled for the morning of settlement. It is recommended that buyers conduct their final walk through four to five business days prior to the settlement date. If there is an issue, this will give the seller time to correct without causing a reset of the regulated timetable for loan disclosure and settlement.
Tips For Your Final Walkthrough
Bring your sales contract, addendum(s) and inspection reports for reference. You’ll also want to make notes on the appropriate sheets that you can refer to later, or complete a walk-through checklist as you proceed. Bring a camera (or cell phone cam) to document any issues.

Understand in advance which items are to be conveyed to you, and which are not.

Inspect the entire home thoroughly. Check the home’s exterior for any new damage or significant changes. Make sure the grounds have been cleared of any trash or debris. Check basement, crawl space, attic, garage and sheds or out-buildings.

Spot check heat and air conditioning, alarm or other included security systems, water and water-related fixtures, appliances, washer & dryer, lighting, windows, outdoor components, appliances, garage doors, gates, etc.

The pre-settlement inspection is used to identify issues that have–or have not been corrected following an earlier inspection as part of a resale transaction. Your inspector will return to the property for an additional fee to test the repairs, or cite the lack of them. Depending on the significance of the repairs in question, buyers may want to bear this added expense or forego it if the repair or replacement provides a warranty and can be easily tested by the buyer at walk-through.
Pre-settlement inspections may also be used as a primary inspection for new construction purchases if  the buyer missed a contractual opportunity for a pre-drywall inspection, or wasn’t allowed one by the builder. Developers often refuse to commit in writing to remedying all inspection items listed on an outside inspector’s report. They’ll say they don’t know which inspection provider  you’ll be using or the inspector’s level of expertise, whether or not the inspector understands new construction, and how realistic the list will be. That’s fair, but buyers do need some protection. Make sure your agent is knowledgeable and experienced in negotiating with developers for outside inspections.
 
Be alert for substituted items such as door handles, appliances, or any fixture or finish that contractually should have remained, but has been substituted with another.
It’s important to address any issues immediately. If contractually agreed-upon items are missing, debris or personal belongings have been left on the premises, if there are defects that should have been addressed by the seller and weren’t, don’t get upset. Instead, take action. There are standard ways in which to address final walk through issues, and your agent will guide you.
Scheduling Your Home Inspection
DC home inspections must be scheduled with respect to your real estate agent’s schedule as well as your own and the vendor’s, so please consult your agent before scheduling and remember that agents also have “office hours” and require travel time.
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