11 Ways To Prepare Your Home For Its Final Walk-Through
By Emma Tomsich
Preparing your home for a walk-through can be stressful for sellers. If you’re hoping to make a positive impression on potential buyers but aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry. Follow this checklist to ace your final home walk-through!
What Is A Walk-Through?
A walk-through is a buyer’s last chance to identify problems with a home before closing. This is different from a home inspection because its purpose is to ensure that the home is in the same condition as it was when the purchase agreement was signed. Typically, a final walk-through is scheduled before closing but after the previous owners move out.
A final walk-through is necessary because it’s a time for the buyer to make sure that the seller made all the repairs indicated in the agreement and left everything behind that they agreed to leave in the house.
To avoid problems during your home’s final walk-through, follow this checklist step by step!
Home Walk-Through Checklist
Step 1: Complete A Final Deep Clean
At this point you’re probably not living in your house that’s up for sale, but if you are, destroy all evidence of occupancy. You want potential buyers to feel at home in their future house without being distracted by your mattress and clothes. If you’ve moved out of the house, make sure to remove the dust bunnies and cobwebs that accumulated while you were gone. Seeing signs of dirt and debris can be a stress factor and a distraction to potential buyers who are looking to purchase a clean new home. No buyer wants to see a mess you left for them to clean up.
Step 2: Take Out The Trash In Advance
As you’re cleaning the house, it’s important to be aware of how you’re disposing of trash and debris. Plan your deep clean around garbage day to ensure that you won’t have any trash present on the day of the walk-through. Try to have your trash picked up a week before the scheduled walk-through just in case the date changes!
Step 3: Leave Behind Items That The Buyers Agreed To Keep
If you made an agreement with the buyer to leave behind particular items, it’s important that those items are attached to the home during the walk-through. Common items that are usually agreed to be left include:
- Large appliances
- Built-in furniture
- Water heater and HVAC system
- Light fixtures
- Dimmers and switches
- Toilet paper holders
Sometimes buyers can also negotiate to keep other items, such as furniture that isn’t built in.
It’s important that you talk to buyers about what items will stay and what items will go before the final walk-through. After this discussion occurs, you must add the items to the purchase agreement. If not, the home buyer could be surprised when they show up to the final walk-through and the refrigerator is gone. An issue like that could delay the home’s closing.
To avoid any problematic incidents and ensure that all necessary items are left behind, it’s best to follow a list of each item mentioned in the agreement and double-check the list before the final walk-through. You should also make sure each item is in the same condition as it was when the buyer accepted the offer.
Step 4: Remove Items That Weren’t Included In The Agreement
Leaving behind items that weren’t included in the agreement could do two things. It could either make the buyer think you’re giving them additional items or distract them from their future home with your mess.
For example, if you leave behind the washing machine even though you wanted to keep it, the buyer might think you are gifting it to them and get upset when you tell them that you’re keeping it. Similarly, if you leave behind a raggedy old chair and leave the buyers responsible for its disposal, they could also become upset.
If you leave all your boxes in the attic or garage, the buyers might not be able to see the full potential of the spaces and request another walk-through. In addition, having your stuff laying around might also stress the buyers out and cause them to worry about how long it’ll take you to move it.
Any of these situations could cause problems between you and the buyers and potentially delay closing as a result. So, remember to remove everything before the final walk-through just in case!
Step 5: Wait To Cancel Utilities
A big mistake many sellers make before the final walk-through is canceling their utilities before it happens. This defeats the point of the final walk-through, which is to test the utilities to make sure they work. To play it safe, wait to cancel your utilities until after closing.
Step 6: Check To Make Sure Everything Is Operational
You never know when an appliance could stop working, but unfortunately it could happen the day before your home’s final walk-through. Make sure to test all appliances, fixtures and mechanical equipment before your buyers do just in case there’s an unexpected problem. You should also check your electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems. If you want to be thorough, pretend to be a home buyer and walk from room to room testing everything in sight. This final test will surely prepare you for your home’s walk-through. Here’s what you should do:
- Test all appliances.
- Turn on the heating and cooling.
- Turn on every light fixture.
- Turn on fans.
- Run each faucet and check for leaks under sinks.
- Run the garbage disposal.
- Flush toilets.
- Inspect ceilings, walls and floors.
- Open and close windows.
Step 7: Make Necessary Repairs
If something stopped working or you agreed to make repairs in the negotiations, take care of the maintenances and keep the receipts to prove it. But if you really want to impress buyers, make other repairs such as filling holes in the walls or giving some areas a fresh coat of paint. The buyers will appreciate your extra hard work and effort!
Step 8: Collect Keys And Manuals
To prepare for closing and your buyer’s move in, start gathering keys now. You’ll need to round up garage clickers, keys to various doors in the house and anything else that might need a key or pass. Keep them organized by putting them in labeled bags for safekeeping.
You should also gather user manuals and warranties for your appliances if you have them.
You probably won’t hand these items over to the buyer until the final paperwork goes through, but it’s still good to gather them in one place and show the buyers that you have them.
Step 9: Stage The Interior
Just because you removed your personal items from the house doesn’t mean you can’t still stage it. If you’re leaving items behind for the future owners, make sure everything is tidy and organized. Perhaps you can even light a scented candle or leave out some snacks! Try to think about what you’d want your future home to look like when you see it for the final time before closing.
Step 10: Prime The Exterior
Buyers get so focused on the interior of their new home that they sometimes forget to inspect the exteriors. Check to make sure that the sprinkler system works and clean up your yard by mowing, weeding, watering and trimming it. If you agreed to make any exterior adjustments or repairs, complete those projects and make sure the outside looks just as good as the inside.
Step 11: Take A Deep Breath And Relax
Now that your house is prepared for a walk-through, it’s time to prepare yourself for what is to come. All the hard work you needed to complete to prepare for the walk-though is done. Now you just need to answer any questions the buyers might have and prepare for closing. You’ve made it this far, so relax. You’re almost there!
If you follow this FSBO checklist, you’ll fly right through your final walk-through all the way to closing. If you find yourself needing some more guidance or have additional questions, ForSaleByOwner.com is here to assist with FSBO professionals and tools to help you along the way!