The Final Walkthrough: Everything You Need to Know

Blond woman standing in front of white brick home.

The final walkthrough is an important part of the closing process – it’s the buyer’s opportunity to spot any last-minute issues that may be present within the home. 

The final walkthrough is not another home inspection. However, it does present buyers with a chance to make sure that the property they are buying is in the same condition as it was when the initial offer was made. 

A lot of time can pass between when a buyer first views the listing and makes an offer and when it’s time to close on the transaction. The walkthrough is critical for verifying the fact that all negotiation changes or improvements were made according to the deal. Buyers can validate that the seller followed through with their end of the deal as promised before they sign the final contract. 

It’s is also important for spotting issues with the home that may have occurred outside of the deal’s negotiation. For example, the buyer wants to know that a storm did not damage the roof between the time the offer was made and closing. 

Since the walkthrough is a highly impactful part of the closing process, both buyers and sellers should make sure they are following the best practices for the final walkthrough. 

How Buyers Should Prepare For The Final Walkthrough 

There are some things that home buyers should do to prepare themselves for a successful final walkthrough. Here are three things to do before and during the walkthrough.

#1. Bring Your Agent

Buyers should not attend the walkthrough alone. Always have your representative agent present during the walkthrough to support you and help you identify any problems on the property. Your agent can be your point of consultation and guide you through the walkthrough.

In case any issues are encountered during the walkthrough, your agent will be able to represent you appropriately. Your agent will be able to calmly assess the situation and offer insight into how best to proceed with the deal. 

#2. Take Note of Anything Noticeable 

Buyers will want to come prepared with either a notepad and pen or their cell phones to make notes as they’re walking through the property. If you come across anything noticeable, write it down in detail to communicate it to the selling party. Buyers want to make sure they have everything on paper to avoid forgetting important things or not having specific details about their observation. 

#3. Take Your Time and Be Thorough 

Buyers never want to rush through the walkthrough since it's their last chance to assess the home before they officially transfer ownership.

Always take your time and be thorough to ensure that you’re not skipping over any important details. The amount of time it takes to conduct the walkthrough differs depending on the size of the home, and it can take anywhere from twenty minutes to over an hour. Buyers should account for the extra time it will take to examine other areas of the property, including the yards, garages, and outdoor spaces. 

3 Things Buyers Should Not Do During The Walkthrough 

There are also things that buyers should not do, as it can impact the buyer’s ability to get the maximum benefit out of the walkthrough. Here are three things to avoid when you’re approaching the final walkthrough. 

#1. Arriving Too Early

It may seem like a good idea to show up to your walkthrough earlier than the appointment time. However, this is something that buyers should not do. Always keep your agreed-upon walkthrough schedule and be timely, but not early.

Arriving too early is a mistake because the final walkthrough is purposely scheduled as close to the official closing meeting as possible. The point of the final walkthrough is to verify that the home is in the appropriate condition at the time of the purchase. 

If you show up too early, you’re increasing the time between the walkthrough and the closing. This opens up the chance for unexpected changes to occur by the time you’re signing the contract, which defeats the purpose of the walkthrough. 

Another key reason why arriving at the walkthrough too early is not a good strategy is because it may infringe upon the seller’s preparations. It’s likely that sellers are making last-minute improvements to the home before the walkthrough time. Whether they’re doing a final clean-up or making an adjustment, buyers should give the seller the time they need to prepare for the walkthrough. 

#2. Forgetting Important Documents

Buyers should be attending the walkthrough with their documents in hand. Forgetting the paperwork associated with the transaction is a common mistake made by buyers. The final walkthrough is all about the details. Buyers should be able to reference the specifics of their contract and negotiations during the walkthrough to confirm that everything has been done according to the agreement. 

Not bringing the paperwork can be confusing and cause issues that could be avoided if you were able to reference your documents on-site. Avoid this error by bringing a copy of your purchasing agreement and repair negotiation documents with you to the walkthrough. 

#3. Trying to Make New Negotiations 

Buyers need to keep in mind that the final walkthrough is one of the last steps before finalizing the deal. It is not the time to make new negotiations or changes to the agreement. Buyers have the opportunity to make negotiations and request new changes after the initial inspection, not at the final walkthrough. The walkthrough is the time to check on the agreements you already made, not request new ones. 

If the home is not in the agreed-upon condition when you attend the walkthrough, you can speak with the seller and find a way to address the issue. In most cases, this will just delay closing for a few days until the repairs are made and you have confirmed that it was done up to standard. 

6 Things Sellers Can Do To Prepare For The Final Walkthrough 

Buyers are not the only ones who can benefit from following best practices at their deal’s final walkthrough. Sellers should also prepare for this step in the closing process by considering these do’s and don’ts. 

Sellers Should…

  • Conduct all agreed-upon repairs and improvements prior to the walkthrough. 
  • Have the paperwork and receipts associated with any of the work they did to improve the property. 
  • Make sure the home’s interior and exterior are clean and empty of all belongings not being sold with the home. 

Sellers Should Not…

  • Have the utilities in the home shut off at the time of the walkthrough. 
  • Have appliances included in the sale not functioning properly at the time of the walkthrough. 
  • Have included items in the sale missing from the property. 

Use these insights to prepare for the final walkthrough and streamline this essential step in the closing process. If you’re on the market for a new home, browse available homes for sale all over the country with HomeFinder.