Summary: Need to know what to expect at your home’s final walk through? This informative article covers everything you need to know, and how to be prepared for the process in the state of Colorado. We tell you what tools to bring, who to bring with you and what to look for, so you can take a breath, and concentrate on the important stuff.
Its finally here, you’ve jumped through every hoop. The time has come to close on your new home. Before you head to the closing table, there’s one important opportunity, you won’t want to miss. Your new home’s final walkthrough is the last opportunity to ensure that agreed-upon repairs have been made, and no damage has occurred to the property since the offer was made. In Denver, and the rest of the state of Colorado, this special provision is established by the contract to buy and sell residential real estate;
Buyer, upon reasonable notice, has the right to walk through the property prior to closing to verify that the physical condition of the property and inclusions complies with this contract.
You could think of this crucial last step as a final assurance that the home meets the expectations for purchase. Let’s take a look at 5 important tips that will help you Ace your home’s final walkthrough.
The final walk through is not a home inspection.
So, what’s the difference between your home’s final walkthrough, and the home inspection you just paid for a month ago? For one thing, the home inspection should have already revealed any material defects or items on the property that may need repair or attention. The final walk through is yours to make sure the property meets the expectations you had when you first visited and made the offer to purchase.
Who should come to your homes final walk through and when should you schedule?
Who should be present during your final walk through? It’s really up to you. Just remember, this is not the time to complicate things, so whoever you bring, make sure they are a necessary part of your process. You must feel free to inspect the home at your own pace without any outside pressure. Ideally, your home’s final walkthrough should be attended by you the buyer, and your real estate agent. If you purchased new construction, it is not uncommon for a representative of the construction company to attend the final walkthrough. For new construction, the home is considered to be a final product that should be free of any blemishes, cosmetic or otherwise. The builder may even supply you with a “punch list” or a comprehensive checklist of any items that may need attention.
If agreed-upon repairs were made as part of the contract, you may want to have the home re-inspected (depending on the nature of the repairs) to ensure any issues have been resolved. The final walk-through should be scheduled during the week leading up to the closing. It’s a good idea to schedule the final walk through a day or two in advance, just in case something comes up, so you can find a resolution before the close.
What should I bring?
It may be useful for you to take a moment to prepare and set aside a few items that may come in handy during your home’s final walk through. You won’t need much, but a few items will help to ensure a thorough last check of the property.
- A flashlight, its the last thing we think about but sometimes the first thing you need. You will want one of these if the power has been turned off and even with power, it is nice to have a light to shine into any dark corners.
- A copy of the home inspection; this should list any repairs that were needed and can be used to check for completion.
- A copy of the final contract will list any items that were to be included in the sale like appliances, window treatments, lighting fixtures, etc. The contract is a great reference should any questions come up.
- Your cell phone, and a charger. You can use the camera on your phone to document any necessary items and the charger will come in handy when checking the outlets.
- A note pad. Just a little something to jot down any observations
What should I check during the final walk through?
Before checking anything, take a few minutes to check out all of the agreed-upon repairs. Using your home inspection summary, make sure all repairs have been completed as specified. If repairs were made by an outside service provider like roofing, electrical or plumbing repairs, be sure to request receipts and warranty information. In the event you encounter problems with the repair in the future, you will want to know who to call. Once you have checked the repairs, take a look at your sales contract and review the fixtures and items included with the purchase of the home. From window treatments to lights you will want to make sure everything that was included in the original offer is still on the premises and in working condition.
The final walk through checklist
Just like the “punch list” for new construction purchases mentioned above, it is useful to have some kind of checklist to use as a reference for your homes final walk through. Here are a few items you will want to include.
#1 Check appliances
- Stove. Are all the burners working, does the oven turn on? Again these kinds of items are regularly overlooked.
- Microwave. This one is pretty straight forward, get a glass of water put it in the microwave for thirty seconds then check to see if it is warm.
- Refrigerator, is it on? Is it cooling properly? If it’s not plugged in when you get there, plug it in and check it again before leaving. If the refrigerator dispenses water and ice take the time to make sure it is working as intended.
- Dishwasher. Start the dishwasher when you arrive and let it cycle through.
- Garbage Disposal. Just flip the switch
#2 Check electrical
- Check switchplates for damage incurred during the move.
- Check the outlets for any damage and use your cell phone charger to check the power.
- Check the smoke detectors, you’ll want to make sure they work properly and you certainly don’t want to hear them beeping randomly in the middle of the night.
- Check interior lights. Make sure the lights work and that all the fixtures that were included in the purchase agreement are still on the premises.
- Check the breaker box, make sure it looks clean and functional.
- Check the doorbell. Sounds silly, but it should work.
- Check exterior outlets and lighting. You may not have had the chance to check these the first time around as most home visits happen during the day.
- Check garage doors. Lots of things can happen during a move, especially damage to garage doors. Check the doors to make sure they are working properly.
#3 Check the plumbing
- Turn on showerheads and faucets.
- Observe drains. Make sure they are running clean and clear.
- Flush all toilets, make sure they fill properly and don’t continue to run.
- Look closely for any signs of water damage, especially in areas where appliances may have been removed. It doesn’t take long for mold to appear, and many times the process of moving may reveal previously unknown leaks and trouble spots. So be on the lookout for anything that looks suspicious.
#4 Check for wall damage or any other cosmetic damage that may have been caused during the move
#5 Check that all garbage and debris been removed.
In the state of Colorado, the home should be in what’s referred to as “broom clean condition”. This means that while the home may not be immaculate, it should be ready to move in. There shouldn’t be any piles of debris or personal items left behind (anything left on the property after the close, is considered to pass with the property).
#6 Make sure all utility provider information has been shared so that a smooth transition may occur from one owner to another.
If any of the utilities have been shut off, it may mean that the houses systems cant be fully checked and the closing may need to be delayed until the utilities can be restored to ensure working mechanicals within the home. This is very important for any property that may have been “winterized” before the sale of the home. Utilities must be restored to check for any problems or damage.
There are quite a few items to check, so take your time. You must get the opportunity to thoroughly review everything and ensure you are purchasing the home you originally agreed upon.
Communicate any Issues quickly and be open to solutions
It is not uncommon to run into issues during the final walk through. Just be quick to report any issues and be open to solutions. Some of the more common issues may be items left behind by the owner like, paint, car parts, tools or furniture that was not included in the purchase agreement. Sometimes repairs may not have been completed according to the agreement, or items that were part of the original agreement may now be missing. Many times moving may have caused cosmetic damage that should be addressed. Any way you cut it, there are a lot of opportunities for concerns to arise.
Know your options
Don’t worry, just because there are a few issues with the final walkthrough, doesn’t mean you need to kill the deal. You have several options at your disposal to resolve any issues that may arise. The most common way to resolve any issues discovered during the walk through is to delay the closing until the repairs and concerns can be addressed. Other options may include having a portion of the sellers’ proceeds held for the buyer as a concession for the work that will need to be performed. Yet another option would be to hold some of the funds in escrow until the necessary repairs can be made. In any case, it is important to keep in mind most issues don’t happen because the seller is trying to “get away with something” they happen, because there are a lot of moving parts in the sale and transfer of a home. It is easy to miss the small stuff, and in an empty home sometimes small things can cause much bigger concerns.
From Boulder to Colorado Springs and everywhere in between, a simple commitment to a thorough final walk through will save you a considerable amount of stress and money in the future. For more information on how you can protect your home financially, contact our team of mortgage professionals at Sammamish.
Do you have more questions about your Colorado home purchase? Let the mortgage professionals at Sammamish Mortgage help you understand the ins and outs of home financing and more. Sammamish Mortgage offers a variety of loan programs including FHA and VA mortgages. Regardless of your situation, we can guide you through the process. If you have questions about securing a mortgage in Colorado, or would like a rate quote, please contact our friendly staff. We look forward to serving you.