Final Home Walkthrough Checklist

This article is about the final walkthrough during a home purchase and one Real Estate Agent’s opinion on the following:

  • What should I bring to the final walkthrough?
  • What should I look for in the final walkthrough?
  • How long does the final walkthrough take?
  • Who attends the final walkthrough?
  • What do I do if I find problems during the final walkthrough?
  • What are the most important things to look for during the final walkthrough?

The final home walkthrough is not the same as the home inspection.  The home inspection is usually something that the buyer pays a professional to perform early in the contract, during an inspection period.  While the final home walkthrough is something that the buyer performs themselves late in the contract after the seller has moved out and usually the day of or the day before closing.

Transferring home ownership is an emotional, complicated, expensive and usually inconvenient process and given that the final home walkthrough is generally performed at the end of this long process and by someone emotionally involved in the transaction, one has to remember to have reasonable expectations. A final home walkthrough with unreasonable demands can cause a very long and expensive contract not to be fulfilled as required which can lead to lawsuits.

For example, it would be nice if the seller would always leave the property hospital clean, but I would not jeopardize a very involved legal contract because the countertops had crumbs on them.  I would however delay a contractual closing date if the seller left belongings behind and made no attempt to clean the property on their way out. The point of all of these words of introduction are that the buyer should have reasonable expectations for the final home walkthrough. It is not worth entering into a lawsuit because the house is not as clean as you thought it should be. These minor issues are quickly forgotten after move-in.

Now that we have set these expectations, what should a buyer really consider during the final home walkthrough.

  • What should I bring to the final walkthrough?
    • Bring yourself, your Realtor and a flashlight if you want to.
  • What should I look for in the final walkthrough?
    • I usually take the approach of trust but verify.  I trust that there were no major system failures and that the seller has not caused any significant damages to the property since the professional home inspection was performed, but still perform some reasonable verifications.
  • What are the most important things to look for during the final walkthrough?
    • I would suggest testing the major systems and looking for significant damages.  A buyer could check all of the plumbing fixtures, inside and out, test the appliances for proper operation, walk through each room and closet looking for damages, walk through the garage, peek into the attic, walk the perimeter of the house, look into all of the cabinets, stand back and look at the roof, check the windows for proper operation and damage, test all of the lights and fans, check the breaker box for tripped breakers, test the sprinkler system, etc.
  • How long does the final walkthrough take?
    • The final home walkthrough shouldn’t take more than an hour or two.
  • Who attends the final walkthrough?
    • Generally, the final home walkthrough can be performed with just the buyer’s Realtor and a buyer that has a basic understanding of home systems.
  • What do I do if I find problems during the final walkthrough?
    • This is where it can get interesting.  It’s important to be reasonable and weigh the significance of whatever problems you may have discovered.  Both the buyer and the seller are usually in an emotional position and jeopardizing a 60 day, million dollar contract because the kitchen isn’t clean, just isn’t worth it.
    • Sometimes a buyer can really discover a problem that they deem to be significant enough to discuss with the other party before closing the sale.  When this happens, the best approach that I have found is to have the buyer’s Realtor document the problem on a contract amendment along with the buyer’s expectations from the seller.
    • For example, if a contract included the seller leaving a refrigerator that was not there during the final walkthrough.  The buyer’s realtor can write a contract amendment that reduces the sale price of the property by an amount equal to the cost of replacing the refrigerator.  If the parties agree to the terms of the amendment, this method allows the parties to solve the problem and the closing to continue as scheduled.

I realized after writing this article that It primarily applies to resale homes and the goals of the Final Home Walkthrough are different for resale and new construction. New construction usually comes with a one year bumper-to-bumper warranty so the focus on new construction should be to get all that was promised by the builder in the new construction contract and to check that there are no damages. All of the mechanical systems and workmanship will be covered by the one year bumper-to-bumper home warranty.


Whether you choose a resale home or a new construction home, buying a house is an exciting investment! Make sure you consider the options to make the best choice for you so that your new house becomes a great home. To help you consider all of the things that you should examine before buying a home, contact ROCK Properties Realty and we’ll help you make sure that your home buying experience becomes a wonderful experience.

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