DC Real Estate Buyers Final Walkthrough

The Homebuyer’s Final Visit Before Settlement

Perform the final walkthrough 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. You’ll also take this time to confirm that the seller has provided all keys, fobs and remotes.

DC real estate final walkthrough

Not An Inspection

Your final walk through is not a home inspection performed by a professional home inspector. Hopefully you had one of those before or during the contract phase of the process, along with a re-inspection if repairs were required prior to closing. A re-inspection performed within five days of settlement could be considered a final walk-through, however, especially if the home has been vacant, but it’s always safest to hold a walkthrough after the seller or occupant’s move out.

Allow Ample Time

Block out the time necessary to give the property a good going-over. Open and close windows and doors, make sure appliances are still 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.

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.

What To Bring

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. Use your phone camera to document any issues.

Inclusions And Exclusions

Refer to the Inclusions | Exclusoins page of your purchase agreement to verify which items are to be conveyed to you, and which are not, and confirm conveying items are present during your walkthrough.

Missing items such as mirrors, light fixtures, remote controls and garage door openers, electronics, shelves, window coverings and window covering hardware are among the most commonly disputed items.

If an item specifically included is found to be missing, your agent will notify the listing agent and take additional steps, which might include drafting a last-minute Addendum to instruct title to hold an amount of Seller’s funds.

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Bullet Points

  • Final Walkthrough isn’t an inspection
  • Use a checklist so nothing is forgotten
  • Bring a copy of your inspection report
  • Allow ample time for each room and outisde area
  • Final Walkthrough and Reinspection can coincide

Michael V

I went to The Isaacs Team after working with another realtor that wasn’t really delivering the level of detail on potential homes that I was seeking. Susan and Alex not only met, but exceeded my expectations in the level of knowledge I sought. Their level of professionalism has secured them a client in me, for all future property purchases.

Visually Inspect

As you walk through the property, look at walls, flooring, ceilings, cabinetry, baseboards, windows, and stairs. Run water, turn lights on and off, check that appliances are operational.

Check alarm status and make sure keys or fobs for all locks are present. If they are not present, make a note of all locks requiring keys or fobs and perform an inventory at the settlement table, where keys should be left if not at the property. For condos and co-ops, it is particularly important that mailbox and storage area keys and/or fobs are present.

Check the home’s exterior for any significant damage or changes since your contract or inspection date.

Check the front, rear and alleyways for disposed of debris or bulk items trash collectors won’t take. Are trash cans overflowing?  Additional steps may be needed if so.

Make sure the basement, crawl space, attic, garage/parking spaces and sheds or other out-buildings are free of debris and intact per contract terms.

Be alert for substituted items throughout the property, such as door handles, appliances, fixtures and finishes that contractually should have remained, but have been substituted with others. You’ll need before and after documentation of this (photos).

It is recommended that buyers take a series of photos for each room to document condition and any issues serious enough to require actoin prior to closing.

Systems Tests

Make sure HVAC systems are operating as they were on the date of contract or inspection (per contract), check to make sure water heaters or boiler are also operating. Weather permitting, check AC operation.

Pre-Settlement Inspections

A pre-settlement inspection may be needed to confirm repairs contractually agreed to by the seller. Your inspector will return to the property for an additional fee to confirm the repairs were made properly, or cite omissions or faulty repairs and replacements. 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 seen/tested by the buyer at final walk-through. If the pre-settlement inspection is to be performed close to the settlement date, it can also be considered a final walkthrough if you complete all the steps of a final walkthrough during the visit.

Addressing Issues

It’s important to address any final walk-through or pre-settlement inspection 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, or defects weren’t properly addressed, there are appropriate remedies. We’ll assess the situation together, and take steps to effect a solution that satisfies the issue(s). This often occurs without delay in settlement.

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