One of the last steps before closing when you sell your house is the final walkthrough. This is the buyer’s chance to go through the house and verified that you moved everything out and completed everything that you committed to during negotiations. Generally, this is almost a formality and often isn’t a problem. For that to be the case, there are a few things that you need to do in order to keep up your end of the bargain. Since it is so late in the process, problems with the final walkthrough are likely to delay your closing and could be a pain when you are trying to sell your house. It is worth it to make sure you do your part.
We’ve put together a few easy checklists to help you through this. The final walkthrough should be easy and following this guidance will help make sure that’s the case.
Not a Home Inspection
The first thing to remember is that this is not a home inspection. You’ve been through that already. The buyer is basically asking sure that the house they are buying is the house that they agreed to buy. This is their last chance to raise any concerns. The seller and their agent will usually not be there so it’s critical that everything is completed before the inspection. Since the inspection is usually within 24 hours of the closing there isn’t really time to fix any issues without delaying the closing. It’s not a high standard though and should be easy if you do your part as the seller.
First and foremost, clean up. The house doesn’t have to be spotless. It needs to be “broom clean” and all your stuff needs to be out. This is not the time to say that you will get that later or you’re going to move it out before you leave. As far as the buyer is concerned, you are out and so is your stuff.
This means that you can’t leave anything that you and the buyer haven’t agreed on. If they didn’t say that they want that cabinet, it doesn’t matter how nice it is, take it out. Remove all the trash. Sweep the floors.
One of the things that the buyer will likely do is to test everything. You should do that in advance of the inspection. You want to give yourself time to fix any issues. If the inspection showed it as working before, it should work now. Here’s a quick checklist of things to check:
- Turn all light switches on and off
- Check all ceiling fans, fireplaces, furnaces, air conditioning, etc.
- Check all the outlets
- Check all appliances including dishwasher, washer, dryer, refrigerator
- Test all faucets and drains
- Look under sinks for signs of leaks
- Flush the toilets
- Open and close all windows and doors
- Check the exterior – look for new damage or cosmetic issues
Basically, test everything you’re leaving behind. This means that you don’t want to turn off the utilities until after the inspection.
Make sure all work is complete
The home inspection is likely to show something wrong with the house. No house is perfect. Sometimes, you and the seller will negotiate for you to complete some work before the closing. Make sure that work is done. Make sure it’s obvious that the work is completed. If you needed to pull permits, consider leaving them out for the buyer to see, or leaving receipts or completed work orders. You don’t want last-minute questions as to whether or not you did the work.
Generally, that’s about it. The walkthrough shouldn’t be a big deal and you, as the seller, need to make sure that’s the case. If you do your part, then it should be easy. At the end of the day, make sure that you and the buyer have a common understanding. So, with any of this, if the buyer agrees, then you’re good. For example, someone buying your house “as-is” may not want a walkthrough. The buyer might just want to verify that your stuff is out. Just make sure that you and the buyer have the same expectation and you deliver it.
Once the inspection is done, that continues. Below are a few items to consider when you’re wrapping up the walkthrough. For some of these, it might be a good idea to do them before the walkthrough. For example, if you leave all the manuals and spotless maintenance records out for the buyer when they do the walkthrough you are communicating that you are organized and take care of your house. This could set a buyer’s mind at ease. The buyer might not test everything as diligently because they know you have done your part.
Once You’re Done With the Final Walkthrough
Some of these things aren’t required, but they’re a nice touch and make things easier for the buyer. You are also less likely to get last-minute phone calls or calls after closing if you do these.
- Turn off the water
- Change utilities or turn them off
- Provide a vendor list
- Double-check for anything you may have left behind
- Lock up
- Bring the keys to the closing
- Leave any manuals, operating instructions, or warranty information
- Leave the garage door openers
- Write down security system codes
- Forward your mail
- Paint and colors for touch up
Ace the final walkthrough when you sell your house
These simple steps can help you ace your final walkthrough when selling your house. This is the last big hurdle, at least usually, before closing. Do your part and your closing will be that much easier. Normally, the walkthrough is almost a formality. Keep it that way. Do your part first. Good luck!