In the state of Virginia, the walkthrough is your last opportunity to see the home before you move in and before you close. You want to use this time to make sure everything is to your liking, but you also should be reasonable. This is not the time to make new requests. In residential real estate, there are a few different types of final walkthroughs. Let’s see which one applies to you.
New Construction Walkthrough One Week from Closing:
Most home builders schedule a walkthrough with the purchaser at least 1 week before closing. This is the time you go through the property with the superintendent to mark any cosmetic flaws or defects with blue tape (or stickers). The super will then schedule the appropriate contractor to come back and fix items marked and make sure they are completed before settlement. It is wise to bring your REALTOR® with you to make sure you don’t miss anything. You might assume there are items you cannot ask for. Never assume and always ask! For example, you might notice a broken window sash and think it is on you. The builder wants you to be happy and it’s much easier for them to replace that window right away rather than hearing your complaint one year from now.
New Construction Final Walkthrough:
This is the final time you will see the property before closing. The superintendent should walk you through the property and point out the repairs they made from the “blue tape” walkthrough. If you see something, anything, make sure you address it. The next time your superintendent comes by will be 11 months from now. (Note: New construction is complicated. Over the next 11 months, your home will move. Start making a list of new cracks, nail pops, etc. to have handy at your 11-month walkthrough. Also, don’t paint. It’s tempting, but cracks are inevitable and the builder is going to fix the crack. You’ll have to repaint!)
Final Walkthrough to Identify Repairs from Inspection Contingency:
A final walkthrough for resale residential real estate is not the same as the new construction walkthrough. If you had an inspection period during your transaction, you would have identified a list of repairs to request the seller to fix. By now, those items must be completed and hopefully the seller has given you copies of receipts for the work too. This is your opportunity to make sure those repairs were done satisfactorily and nothing surprising has occurred since your inspection. The home should also be completely empty except for any personal property you have asked to keep. For example, if the attic is still full of old window screens or personal belongings, do NOT go to your closing until they are removed. It is the seller’s responsibility to empty the home and have it “broom-swept.”
Final Walkthrough without Repairs:
If you accepted the property “As-Is”, your final walkthrough will be different than the one above. This is your chance to check out the property and make sure it is the way you last saw it. If you were clear about the home being completely empty before closing, should be. If you assumed it would be empty and didn’t make this request for an as-is property, you might find it tough to make the seller remove things. Always be specific.
Final Walkthrough After Seller Possession:
It is very important to document everything during a transaction. For this type of walkthrough, the purchasers should have also done a final walkthrough before the closing. The home should be in the same condition it was then or better. If you made an agreement to have the property professionally cleaned at the end of the Seller Possession period, it must be. Make sure you take photos and videos on the day of closing and add time stamps too. You will need to prove something was already the way it was, if a purchaser tries to claim otherwise. You won’t get that full security deposit back if you don’t have proof of the condition.
Final Walkthrough before Early Possession:
Early possession is very risky. As the seller, you will want to make sure you document everything like the walkthrough above. A purchaser will be living in the property before settlement and if something happens while they are living there, they could choose not to move towards settlement.
The final walkthrough is one of the most important steps of the real estate transaction.The lesson from the final walkthrough should be to document everything. Take photos and videos and keep copies of emails, texts and documents. You should NEVER assume because something can turn badly until all parties go their separate ways. Seek the advice from your REALTOR® and don’t be afraid to ask questions.