A buyer's final walk through of the home they are purchasing in Palo Alto can be done anytime before closing. It is ideal if it can be done after the seller has moved out, but not essential, and sometimes that is not possible.
The purpose of the walk through is to make sure the home is in a similar condition as when you made the offer. You want to make sure that nothing new has happened and that nothing new is broken. It is not a contingency of closing. So for example, if the stove has broken, you would still be obligated to close, but the seller would be obligated to have it fixed. You can do a walk through up to the day of closing but early that day. It would have to be before recording, so that you could prove that if something broke it is the seller's responsibility. If something stops working after closing then the home protection plan will get it fixed, but if it is very close to closing then they may want proof that it was working when you closed. The walk through and the inspection reports can be used as proof.
Another purpose of a walk through is to allow the seller to show the buyer how certain things work that may not be obvious. Every house has its own little quirks, and sometimes there are complicated systems that need to be explained. I once had a client who bought a 900 square foot Palo Alto home where the walk through took 3 hours because the seller had installed so many complicated landscaping systems.
So, there is no absolutely right or wrong time to do the walk through, but they should be done. You do not want to close on a house and discover that the previous owners took the newly laid sod (true story) with them, or worse yet, your Palo Alto house burned down and someone forgot to tell you.
If you have any questions about buying or selling a home in Palo Alto please feel free to contact me.