The final walkthrough is your opportunity to personally make sure everything looks good before you close on the home. It’s important not to rush, as you’ll want to thoroughly examine the home’s condition. That includes testing out the appliances and plumbing, along with the electrical, heating, and cooling systems. If the process sounds daunting, don’t worry — you won’t have to do it alone.
“The final walkthrough should always be done with your real estate agent,” says Jules Borbely, a strategic real estate consultant at Real Estate Bees, which is a technology and marketing platform for real estate professionals, and COO of Oxford Property Group in New York. “They do this every time they sell a home so you should take advantage of their experience.”
To help ensure you don’t miss any important steps, we’ve done the research and created your new home walkthrough checklist:
- Do All Appliances Function?
- Are Items From the Purchase Agreement Accounted For?
- Are Repairs Completed?
- Does the Electrical System Work?
- Are the Heating and Cooling Systems in Good Condition?
- Is the Plumbing Functional?
- Are the Windows, Doors, and Locks Secure?
- Has the Exterior Been Properly Maintained?
- Are There Signs of Pests, Mold, or Structural Damage?
- Is the Home Clean and Free of Damage?
Do All Appliances Function?
To avoid footing the bill for expensive replacements, you should test out all the appliances that come with your new home and make sure everything works. In particular, check to see that the kitchen stove and oven turn on and aren’t leaking gas. It’s also important to confirm that the garbage disposal and dishwasher run without problems, as those items can be easily missed in the final walkthrough.
- Does the oven turn on and heat up in a reasonable amount of time?
- Do all the stove units turn on? If there’s a gas stove, can you smell any gas leaking?
- Do the kitchen exhaust fans work?
- Does the garbage disposal run and drain properly?
- Are there any issues with the dishwasher?
- Does the microwave work?
- Do the washer and dryer work?
Are Items From the Purchase Agreement Accounted For?
Make sure that all the items included in the sale of the home — like appliances or pieces of furniture — are still present during the final walkthrough.
“I recently took a client through a final walkthrough and we noticed that the washer and dryer had been removed from the house,” says Derek Vaughan, a real estate consultant at Real Estate Bees and Realtor at Dilbeck Real Estate in Pasadena, California. “According to our purchase agreement, all the appliances (including the washer and dryer) were included. When we saw that the washer and dryer had been removed, I contacted the seller and seller’s agent and had the appliances put back into the house.”
Conversely, also check to see that the owner hasn’t left any old mattresses, tables and chairs, or other personal items for you to deal with.
Purchase agreement checklist
- Are all the items that were included in the purchase still in the home?
- Has the previous owner removed their personal belongings and other things that weren’t included in the sale?
- Have you checked the attic and basement?
Are Repairs Completed?
If the seller agreed to make certain repairs prior to closing, the final walkthrough is your time to verify that they’ve been completed to your satisfaction. It’s also helpful if the seller leaves behind the receipts for repair work, as well as any applicable warranties to help cover potential issues down the line.
- Are all the agreed-upon repairs complete?
- Are the appliances or home features perfectly functional now?
- Is it a job well done? Or were shortcuts taken?
- Did the seller provide relevant receipts and any applicable warranties?
Does the Electrical System Work?
Electrical issues in your home can be a major headache to resolve. Plus, they’re a safety hazard — especially for small children and pets. Save yourself some stress down the road by meticulously checking all the lights and outlets during the final walkthrough.
Electrical system checklist
- Do all the lights turn on and off?
- Do all the outlets work?
- Is any electrical wiring exposed?
- Does the security system function properly?
- Does the doorbell ring without sticking?
- Do the garage doors open and close securely?
Are the Heating and Cooling Systems in Good Condition?
If you aren’t purchasing a home during the hotter months, you might forget to check the air conditioning. Similarly, if you’re moving in during the summer, the home’s heating capacity might not be top of mind.
Regardless of your move-in date, you should test the heating and cooling systems to make sure they’re up to par. This step will help you avoid emergency repairs during the months when you need those systems the most.
Heating and cooling systems checklist
- Does the thermostat show the correct temperature?
- Can you adjust the thermostat as needed?
- Does the heater turn on and adequately warm up the entire home?
- Does the air conditioner turn on and adequately cool down the entire home?
Is the Plumbing Functional?
Plumbing issues could have popped up while the home was vacant, so be sure to confirm that everything is working as it should. Flush all the toilets and turn on every faucet to test the running water. In addition to inspecting the drains, don’t forget to check the water pressure and temperature.
- Are the toilets running or clogged?
- Do the faucets leak or spray?
- Do the sinks, showers, and bathtubs drain properly?
- Does the hot water work?
- Is the water pressure adequate?
Are the Windows, Doors, and Locks Secure?
In terms of safety, checking that the windows and doors close firmly and lock securely is very important. It helps keep your family and possessions protected. Your windows and doors can also become a fire hazard if they stick and can’t be opened quickly.
Borbely recommends testing every key — including the ones for your mailbox and storage units — during the final walkthrough to make sure they all work.
“Keys for the new home are rarely tested, leading to surprises after closing,” he says.
Aside from safety, having secure windows and doors can help you save money because they keep the heat or air conditioning inside of your home. When there’s a draft or leak, your energy costs may increase.
- Do all the windows open and close smoothly and securely?
- Do all the doors open and close smoothly and securely?
- Does every lock work properly?
- Do all the home, mailbox, and storage keys work?
- Are any of the windows broken or damaged?
- Are any window screens missing?
- Have you been given the keys to the storage units?
Has the Exterior Been Properly Maintained?
It’s not just the inside that counts. Make sure to spend some time looking over the outside of the property during your final walkthrough. The home’s exterior should be in good condition, and the seller should have maintained the yards since your last visit.
- Are the roof and gutters in acceptable condition?
- Is there any chipping or wear on the exterior paint?
- Has the landscaping been kept up?
- Are all the plants included in the sale accounted for?
- Is the irrigation system, including sprinklers and garden hoses, functional?
- Are all gates and fences working properly?
Are There Signs of Pests, Mold, or Structural Damage?
Some sellers may be hesitant to admit that they’ve had trouble with mice, cockroaches, or termites. There’s also a chance that some of these pests moved in while the home was vacant, which makes the final walkthrough even more important.
Termite damage, in particular, can threaten the structural integrity of the home and become quite expensive. It costs an average of $550 for termite treatment, according to HomeGuide, a platform that connects customers with home professionals — and that doesn’t include fumigation, which is required for larger infestations.
Similarly, mold that wasn’t visible during the home inspection may have worsened and spread in the interim. In addition to posing serious health risks, mold remediation costs an average of $2,200, according to HomeAdvisor, a service that helps homeowners find home improvement professionals.
Pest, mold, and structural damage checklist
- Is there mold in the bathroom and the kitchen or near windows?
- Are there any signs of rodents or insects?
- Is there evidence of termite damage or dry rot?
- Is there any water damage on the walls or floors?
Don’t Miss: What You Need To Know About Pest Inspections
Is the Home Clean and Free of Damage?
By the final home walkthrough, the home should be ready for you to move in. In addition to checking for dirt and grime, look out for damage that could have been caused or revealed by the previous owner moving out.
“Moving furniture can cause extensive damage to hardwood floors,” says John Manning, broker owner at real estate company Re/Max On Market in Seattle. “It is often impossible to do a spot repair and refinishing an entire floor area is expensive. In some cases, especially with engineered flooring products, it might be impossible to find a color match for the damaged product so these issues should not be underestimated. Flooring is often contentious as sellers don’t like to acknowledge that one gash may require several thousand dollars to repair.”
Cleanliness and damage checklist
- Are the floors clear and clean?
- Has there been any damage to the walls?
- Was there any damage created by the previous owner moving out?
Read More: Our First-Time Homebuyer Guide
The Bottom Line
The house walkthrough is your last chance to confirm that the home’s condition matches the purchase agreement. It would be unpleasant to go through all the work of homebuying — and spend all that money — only to move in and find that critical systems don’t function, repairs haven’t been completed, or the home has been damaged since the last time you saw it. You can use this final home walkthrough checklist to help make sure you don’t miss anything and close the deal with confidence.