Items NOT to Forget to Check during your Walk Thru
A walk thru is one of the most important parts of your home buying process. You should be ready to make the most of it when you complete this task.
What’s a walk thru? It’s your final check of the home repairs that the seller agreed to in the purchase contract.
Commonly, this is done as you are within a week of closing escrow. This would also be an appropriate time to meet the seller if possible, and ask any questions about the functionality or utility of the home that only the seller would know about.
Here are things you should never forget to check for during your walk thru.
The Purchase Contract and CC&Rs
You should have a copy of your complete contract, and any Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) or other agreements as applicable during your visit at the home. Part of your contract should include an identification of utilities, and if you are unfamiliar with who to contact to get the utilities transferred to your name, this would be a good time to gather the information.
Keeping all of your paperwork in a 3 ring binder is a helpful way to keep you organized, and is highly recommended. Your agent should accompany you during this visit, and he or she should also be taking notes if there are any issues.
Check around outside
Look around the siding, eaves, windows and roof. From the time the home was inspected until now, were there any storms that occurred? Look and see if you notice any weather damage that wasn’t apparent the last time you inspected. Do the same approach with outbuildings, shops, or other structures. Did the seller leave any rubbish or trash outside? Kindly ask the seller if they have a plan for removing what you found. If the home has a sprinkler system, have the seller help you turn it on to demonstrate how it works. Are there any other items or issues that stand out that you haven’t noticed before?
Checking inside the home
Check out all plumbing fixtures. Start with bathrooms – turn faucets on and off, and look for chips or breaks in sinks. Flush toilets, any sign of leaks or problems with clogging? Run the dishwasher, and watch around the base for evidence of leaking. Make sure you know where the main water shut off is located.
Turn all light fixtures on and off to make sure there are no missing bulbs. Turn on all appliances to make sure they function to include – furnace or heating sources, stove, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, and trash compacter. Look at the panel box, is it labeled clearly? Do you need any clarification of how to know what breaker operates which appliance? Is the panel box wired for a generator? Does a generator come with the sale? Have the seller demonstrate how it all works if you don’t know. Test the garage door opener with a piece of 2×4 placed on the floor in the path of the door closing. The door should automatically reverse and open upon contact with the wood.
Look at all the walls, floors and ceilings for any damage or neglect. There may have been hidden stains or damage when the home still had furniture. Also, damage may have occurred during the move out. Open and close all windows and doors. Do all the windows have screens?
Do you see any fixtures that look different or missing? Permanent fixtures are part of the home, and unless it is otherwise specified, are included in the sale. If you recall a large, vibrant chandelier that greeted you in the foyer as you walked in, and it’s not there now, there’s a problem. Do all the kitchen appliances look the same? Owners have been known to swap out appliances prior to close of escrow. If your contract included the refrigerator, then the included refrigerator is the nice stainless steel side by side one that was part of the kitchen when you made the offer, not the 20 year old beer cooler they were keeping in the garage.
Now look specifically at the repairs that should have been completed
Examine the repairs that the seller agreed to do for you. Are they done to your satisfaction? This is the best time for leverage and to hold the seller accountable for what they committed to. If the seller did not follow through on what they committed to in writing, you have a legal reason to walk away if the issue or issues are not corrected. If the seller hired a contractor or repair professional to make the repairs, you should be able to obtain the invoices from the seller for future reference.
Ed Kunkel, Jr. is a Managing Broker/Realtor® at Keller Williams Realty in Olympia, Washington. Visit Ed here. Ed’s Military History: Veteran – U.S. Army and Air Force Reserve; Highest rank, E5; 11 years combined military service.