Walk About or Walk Through
Walk about: an informal stroll
Walk through: guide someone carefully through a process
You are getting ready to close on your new home and you are headed to your walk through. What does this mean?
We can walk about your new house figuring out where you are going to hang the family portrait or place the new, perfectly matched, towels, because that's loads of fun and what the excitement is all about!!! However, during a walk about it can be easy to overlook things. Things that you consider important, and will be disappointed to find out later have issues. That’s why it can be helpful to know ahead of time what types of things you should be looking for, so you don’t get too sidetracked thinking about all your ideas for your beautiful new house.
Let's walk through your new house! This is your final approval of the house, before you sign closing documents and take possession. So, what should your walk through be?
In general, make sure that all of the seller’s stuff is out of the house (unless your contract stipulates otherwise), that anything that was included in the sale is still there (such as kitchen appliances and light fixtures), that negotiated repairs have been completed (especially if you did not get a reinspection), and that there are no new problems or damages to the home (like damage done during the move-out process).
First, take a camera (or your handy phone) to take pictures of any areas/items of concern. Take a note pad to jot things down, and have a checklist, your home inspection, the seller’s disclosure, the repair request and any other important reference documents with you, in case you need to verify something. Now we are ready to get to work.
Outside The Home
Ensure garage door openers (and any remotes that come with them) are working, if applicable.
Check for debris outside the house and look for signs of pests.
Look for damage to the yard, mailbox or exterior components. Not things already seen, being fair to the seller.
Make sure yard items that were sold with the house – storage sheds, landscaping, etc. – remain with the home and haven’t been taken or dug up.
Inside The Home
Check that all light fixtures and outlets are accounted for and in working condition, and that all ceiling fans have their remotes.
Run all faucets and check for leaks at the faucet, tub or sink area, testing for hot water, making sure all drains are clear and properly draining.
Flush the toilets checking for leaks or loose fixtures.
Look out for mold or water damage.
Test all applicable appliances for operation.
Run bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans.
Check that all doors and windows open, tilt (if applicable), close, lock and are not broken.
Ensure that all items to convey (window treatments, toilet paper and towel holders, etc.) are in the home.
Inspect walls, ceilings and floors for damage, especially behind areas that may have been occupied or covered during the inspection, by furniture, rugs, etc.
Test the thermostat and check out HVAC units.
Check that the seller’s belongings are gone, that debris is removed, and ensure the home isn’t excessively dirty.
It is also a good idea to ask for receipts for negotiated repairs. Any concerns found? Your agent or legal representative can help you with resolutions and moving forward with closing.
Asking why do I have to do this when I had a home inspection? Of course you are, and here is why. Homes are made up of components, and every component has a life expectancy. Life expectancy depends on installation and use as well as age.
Homes that are occupied are still being tasked daily, after the inspection, and anything can happen between the inspection and closing. Faucets can break, sinks and walls can be damaged, batteries or bulbs can expire. Really, anything. Also, occupied homes always have areas that are blocked. Receptacles that could not be tested and areas of walls and floors that could not be seen. Now is your chance to see all of that. Closing on a house that still has occupancy does not allow you this opportunity, so make sure to protect yourself if you are letting the seller's stay for a period of time, after taking possession.
Homes that are not occupied take on an entirely different set of issues. These components have not been tasked daily and can fail, at any moment, due to lack of use. Valves can dry up, dried blockages can swell resulting in issues and components can short out or fail from sudden task loads. All of this not visible during the limited time the inspector was there. Just be prepared, when purchasing a vacant home, that some things may reveal themselves upon occupancy. Your inspector has probably informed you of this already.
When all of this is done, relax and take a walk about. Absorb the feeling of your new home and celebrate this milestone. Congratulations to you!
Feel free to print this out to use as a guide. As always, if we can assist in any way don’t hesitate to let us know!