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How to Make the Most of a Walkthrough Before Buying a Home

posted by Chris Valentine

The walkthrough you’ll conduct before buying a home is your last opportunity to make sure what you’re getting is what you bought. In other words, this is your final chance to make sure all of the physical aspects of the home conform to the stipulations of the sales contract upon which you and the seller have agreed—before money changes hands. With that in mind, here’s how to make the most of a walkthrough before buying a home.

  1. The Timing is Critical

You’ll either have to live with or pay to correct everything you accept after conducting this inspection. Ideally, the seller will be present for the final walkthrough so they can answer any questions you might have about the functioning of various systems. The best time to schedule this is within a day of closing escrow, so you can minimize the amount of time between your inspection and taking possession of the home. This reduces the possibility of post-examination changes.

Be sure to take the home inspection report along with you so you can ensure suggested repairs were made. Aside from acquiring a strong policy, this is one of the best homeowners insurance measures you can take.

  1. Go Spy with a Critical Eye

It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting a new home and spend your final walkthrough imagining furniture placement and window treatments. There will be lots of time for that once you’ve closed escrow. Now is the time to subject the home to intense scrutiny to avoid falling into a money pit. Rather than dreaming of tomorrow, you should focus on the following today:

  • Test every light fixture
  • Run every faucet and look under sinks for leaks
  • Activate every appliance
  • Use an electrical tester to confirm all outlets have power
  • Try the garage door openers
  • Inspect doors to ensure they open and close freely
  • Flush every toilet and look in the yard to make sure the sewers are intact
  • Check all ceilings, walls and floors
  • Switch on garbage disposals and exhaust fans
  • Operate the heating and air conditioning to ensure proper operation
  • Open and close windows and inspect screens
  • Make sure all debris is removed from the property
  1. Confirm Contractual Obligations Have Been Met

Bring along a copy of the sales contract so you can confirm all appurtenances such chandeliers, wall sconces, mirrored closet doors and the like are in place as you agreed. If you bought the furniture along with the house, make sure all pieces are accounted for as spelled out in the contract. In other words, if you agreed to buy the home based upon certain conditions, also use the final walkthrough to ensure they’ve been met.

  1. What to Do If Something’s Wrong

In most cases, your purchase contract will be contingent upon all conditions being satisfied—unless you choose to waive them. This is where you’ll have to decide if you can live with an issue or it’s a deal breaker. If it’s serious you can probably use it to negotiate a lower price, assuming you still want the home. Either way, you have options other than accepting it as is. This is where the advice of a good real estate agent comes in handy.

Once things are to your satisfaction, you can then feel free to go ahead and complete the transaction. Knowing how to make the most of a walkthrough before buying a home can give you real peace of mind. It’s the best way to ensure what you saw is what you got.

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