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Does House Have To Be Empty For Final Walk-Through?

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Whether you're buying a house or selling it, one of the things you have to prepare for is the final walk-through of the house. If you're a little confused about what to do, we've researched all the information you will need about final walk-throughs, and we will give you some tips in this post.

During a final walk-through, it is important for the house to be empty so that the buyer can check all the details in the house without anything hindering them. The house should also be completely devoid of personal belongings and debris from the previous owner.

It's a little intimidating to know about the necessary things to do for a final walk-through. Fortunately, we will talk about that more in this post. Keep reading as we break down what buyers can demand, and the time you will need before a final walk-through happens, as well as tips and tricks to make it easier for you.

Empty and unfurnished brand new house, Does House Have To Be Empty For Final Walk-Through?

Does House Have To Be Empty For Final Walk-Through?

Spacious rambler home interior with vaulted ceiling over glossy laminate floor.

Closing a home can be a very long and tedious process that requires not only a lot of paperwork but also physical visits to the property. One of the things that are part of the process of closing a house is the final walk-through.

A final walk-through is when a buyer does a final look at the property to see if it is in the condition they have agreed to buy. This typically happens a day before the final closing as it gives the buyer the chance to see if the seller has completed all the repairs they have promised to do. 

Normally, it is only the buyer and the buyer's agent who goes for a final walk-through. While a walk-through is not required by law for the deal to be closed, a buyer has the right to inspect their property as written in the home purchase agreement. Doing a final walk-through protects both the buyer and the seller. 

Void of Personal Items 

Before a final walk-through, it is important that the seller should remove all their items and belongings in the property before the buyer arrives. You might also notice the term broom swept condition in the home purchase agreement—this means that the seller should have the entire home cleaned out.

Void of Debris

During a final walk-through, the seller should also make sure that the entire property is cleaned and that they do not leave any debris behind. The house should be swept, vacuumed, and cleaned as much as possible as a courtesy to the new homeowners.

Confirm Agreed Upon Items are Present

Anything that has been agreed upon must be left or taken before a final walk-through takes place. Home appliances that have been agreed to be kept in the home should still be there when the walk-through happens because taking them out might cause issues based on the purchase agreement.

What Can Buyers Demand At Final Walk-Through?

Broker giving keys of new house and handshaking with customer

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), only 5% of contracts are terminated after the final walk-through due to issues. Regardless of how small this percentage is, it is better to have a walk-through that goes by without a hitch and that the sale of the house pushes through.

A walk-through can be made simple, and there are certain things that buyers can demand and ask from the sellers before they acquire the property. These are typically listed down in the home purchase agreement as a layer of safety for both buyer and the seller.

Clean & Damage-Free

Some small issues that cause buyers to back out after a final walk-through are houses that aren't clean. Sometimes, sellers also leave items in the home without prior agreement with the buyer, and this can cause a lot of problems.

Make sure that the house also does not incur any damage during the moving out period. Oftentimes, this issue is overlooked by many sellers, and leaving damages like this can cause buyers not to push through with the deal. 

If problems do arise after the final walk-through, a buyer can indeed back out of the sale. However, there are also other options. Buyers can demand that the closing be delayed until all the repairs and agreed-upon details are fixed. They can also negotiate appropriate compensation and deal with the issues and repairs, especially if it isn't too troublesome.

How Many Days Before Closing Is The Final Walk-Through?

Generally speaking, the final walk-through is scheduled 24 hours before the deal is closed and finalized. By this time, sellers should have done all necessary inspections and renovations as per the home purchase agreement.

Since the final walk-through is only attended by the buyer and the buyer's agent, the date can be scheduled with the seller's agent to ensure that everything is already vacant. Most real estate agents suggest that the longest time before a walk-through and a closed deal happens should be about two days.

Final Walk-Through Checklist

Real estate agent showing new house to couple

For a buyer, a walk-through isn't just walking around the house. It should also include a little inspection and examination to see if everything is already in order before you do move into the new house. Here, we've listed down a final walk-through checklist and a few tips that can help you before you close on that new home.

1. Bring the Essentials

Before going to your final walk-through, have your real estate agent stay with you throughout the entire walk-through, and make sure to bring these necessary items:

Final Contract

Your final contract will be your basis for everything that should be and shouldn't be included in your new home. This is the most important paper you should always have.

Notepad

Keep a notepad to jot down any questions you have in mind as well as observations you see while doing the walk-through.

Phone & Charger

Use your phone to take pictures of the issues you may want to discuss with the seller. You can also use your phone and phone charger to check if the electrical outlets are working well.

Inspection Summary

This is important because you can double-check if all the necessary repairs have been completed and if they were done well.

2. Double-check the Repairs

Using your inspection summary, make sure to double-check all the repairs done to the home. You should also get a hold of the warranties and receipts done for these repairs, as well as contact information from the contractors who did the repairs in case a follow-up is needed.

3. Check on the Agreed-upon Items

In the purchase agreement, it should state all the items that the seller has agreed to leave behind in the house for the buyer. Make sure to check all the items listed in the agreement and see if they are still there during the final walk-through.

4. Open Doors & Windows

Make sure that the new house is secure by opening the doors and windows. Check the latches and locks, and see if all the window screens are complete.

5. Do a Bathroom Inspection

Do a careful bathroom inspection and see if there are traces of mold, water damage, or standing water in the bathroom. Make use of this time to also check the plumbing to see if it works well.

6. Inspect the Kitchen Too

Just like the bathroom, it is important to do a thorough inspection of the kitchen as well. Make sure to go through all the areas of the kitchen, especially under the sink.

7. Test the Appliances

Horizontal photo of female hand inserting power cord receptacle into electric wall outlet

Most sellers will also leave the appliances in the home. Do remember to check if these appliances are in good working order.

8. Try Out the Utilities

One of the most important things to check is the home's utilities. Turn on the heating and airconditioning systems, the plumbing, the electrical systems, and all other agreed-upon utilities and make sure that they are all working well with no issues.

9. Tour the Property

Before closing, make sure that the house looks as it is agreed upon on the outside too. Check the backyard and the landscaping to see if there is anything amiss on the property.

10. Check for Signs of Pests

Before the old owners move out, make sure that no tiny critters decide to move in before you do! Check for spongy floors and brittle timber that are typically signs of termites and other pests. 

In Conclusion

Empty living area and kitchen inside of a new modern home. The sun shines through lare windows in the living area.

Buying your own home can be very exciting, albeit the nerve-wracking and exhausting process to get there. Make sure that you get the best out of it by not missing on small processes like the final walk-through because this can definitely make or break the experience of having a new home. After all this, you'll surely enjoy living and staying in your new property.

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