Buying a new home is exciting but can also be a stressful event. One of the most important things that you'll do in final phases is the Final Walk-through. Don't neglect this step! You should have this meeting arranged with your Real Estate Agent at least one week before closing. Here is a handy guide on things you should know and do as you prepare.

A walk-through is your last chance to make sure the home is how you expect it to be before you take formal ownership. This isn't a home inspection (that should have already been done). If you can, do this with the sellers (this isn't always allowed). They can be a great insight on the history of the home and its past issues. Take your contract with you and refer to the various clauses on conditions as you go through the home.

Here's a simple Checklist of things to look for:

  • Check the condition of the exterior, including trim, doors, windows, gutters, etc.
  • Do all the light-switches work?
  • Do all the outlets have power?
  • Check the appliances.
  • Does the HVAC system turn on and off? Check the condition of the vents.
  • Make sure the water faucets work and don't drip.
  • Check for water leaks.
  • Flush the toilets.
  • Open and close all doors and windows.
  • Visually check walls and ceilings for cracks or discoloration associated with water damage.
  • Make sure no materials or equipment have been left behind by previous owners or contractors.

What if there's a problem?

If you find problems with the home or conditions you didn't expect, consider if the problem is worth the disruption it will cause to dispute. Something minor, like paint on the baseboard, is something you can fix easily yourself. Even slightly more costly repairs are ones you should consider taking on your own just to avoid drawn out problems with the closing.

However, some problems are more major. If you discover a leak, for example, and you have no idea the extent of the damage, your agent should contact the seller's agent to determine an agreeable solution. Your real estate agent can help you decide which issues are worth pursuing and which are best let go.