Understanding the "Walk Through" for the Buyer

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Warner Realty Group, LLC REC.0018088

The walk through is the buyers last chance to make sure the property is in substantially the same condiiton on the day of closing as it was at the Inspection. Learn it's purpose, how to prep for it and what to do if there's a problem. 

Check out this paragraph from the Purchase and Sales Agreement (single family home) from the Rhode Island Association of Realtors. 

"Buyer shall be entitled to a final walkthrough of the Property prior to the delivery of the deed in order to determine whether the Property complies with the terms of this section. "

That's not a lot of information, is it? This blog will help you understand what you should be expecting from your Real Estate Agent or Broker and the Seller in last visit to your property before the closing date. 

The Purpose of the Walk Through  

There is often a substantial amount of time between the Inspection date for the property and the date that all the documents are signed and the deed is recorded (the "Closing"). A lot can happen in that period of time. 

The sellers' movers can cause damage during the move; an investment property may have tenants that don't leave the place clean or actually take things that should be conveyed (yes, dishwasher's have been magically disappeared in this time period),  or in one memorable instance the seller left the house in filthy conditions. It can be as innocuous as the giant couch the seller couldn't get out the door and left for the buyer to handle, or as problematic as a windstorm taking a tree down and depositing it on the property the night before closing! 

The final walkthrough is the buyers LAST chance to be sure that when closing is complete there are as few surprises as possible. 


Prepare Yourself for an Effective Walkthrough

A good walk through can take as little as 10 minutes or as long as an hour. It depends on the size of the house, how much furniture was in the house when you purchased it, how many repairs or corrections were requested and how many items you decide to check. 

While this is not your opportunity to perform another inspection, it is your chance to make sure the major mechanicals are all still functioning properly and the moving parts are all still moving smoothly. Think windows and doors, heat and A/C, tubs, toilets and faucets. 

With the new TRID rules that came into effect October 2015 there is a school of thought saying inspections should occur at least three days before closing. The idea is that if there is a substantial issue that requires funds be held in escrow or some other negotiation that will affect the final numbers on the HUD or Settlement statement, you need the three day cushion in order to comply with the disclosure rules and not delay your closing unnecessarily. 

The flip side of this argument is that you want to inspect your house as close to the closing date as possible so that you have a very small window between the last time you saw the property and when you signed your documents. In our market, Newport and Rhode Island in general, it's more common to schedule the walk through either the day of closing or the day immediately prior if time requires. 

Bring a copy of your Purchase & Sales Agreement with you, along with any Repair Requests or Addendums. You can ask your agent to bring everything if you signed electronically as many do now.  This will help remind you of any requests for repairs that were made and any agreements. 

It's too late now to request any items that were on the Inspection Report but not negotiated as part of the Repair Request. 

Process: Start outside. Check the mailbox and make sure there are no keys or other odds ands. The seller may not have remember to submit an address forwarding request. Check for any pink flamingos or lawn furniture you didn't want to convey. 

Look for broken windows or doors, or damage to a garage or driveway from moving trucks. Were any utilities boxes broken off the side of the house during the move? 

Check to make sure all the garage door openers, any keys for padlocks on sheds or outside doors or mailboxes, any keys or remotes or gas fireplaces, collars for invisible dog fences or other items that should convey. It can be tough to get these items after the documents are signed. 

Remedy for Problems: The most common solution to a problem is to request funds to be held in escrow until such time as the Seller corrects a problem. You can also use those funds to compensate yourself for correcting a problem. 

For example, the house mentioned above that was so filthy? It cost $900+ to have it thoroughly cleaned, it was that bad.  The buying agent can tell the listing agent that the closing will be delayed until such time as the seller cleans the house or until the Buyer hires appropriate vendors to clean on the seller's behalf. 

If you have a REAL big problem (a tree fell on the house, the pipes burst and the house is flooded, a car ran through the living room) the appropriate action is to delay closing until a suitable remedy is found. In extreme cases, you may be able to declare the contract void if the house cannot be returned to the state in which it was at contract. 


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Gloria Valvasori, Accredited Senior Agent
REAL Experience | REAL Commitment | REAL Results!

In Ontario we usually ask for 1-2 Buyers visits prior to closing in the offer. They can take measurements for window treatments, or select paint colours etc., and to check for any damage.  Here in Ontario once the property closes the Buyer get the keys to the property from their lawyer, and I always tell them to go to the property immediatley to inspect it to check that everything is in good working order, run the dishwasher, turn on the burners on the stove, run the washing machine etc, The Seller is liable up to midnight on the day of closing should anything be amiss... If there is something not working they call me, I notify the listing agent in writing and the Seller is responsible for repairs/replacements.

Jan 30, 2017 03:55 PM #1
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

This is a really good overview of what the purpose of the final walk-through is, the process, and solutions to problems.  Thanks for the post, Sandi Warner, Esq. 

Jan 30, 2017 04:42 PM #2
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

And, Welcome to ActiveRain, Sandi.  We are a caring, sharing, bunch here.  We love to share our knowledge and learn from other industry pros such as you!  I encourage you to keep blogging and share your expertise!

Jan 30, 2017 04:46 PM #3
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

A great guide for homebuyers Sandi, thanks for sharing this!

Welcome to Active Rain, looking forward to reading many more of your posts, let me know if there is anything that I can do to help as you get started here.
All the best of success to you.

Jan 30, 2017 11:04 PM #4
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Welcome to ActiveRain! This is a good guide for buyers in terms of what a final walkthrough is all about.

Jan 31, 2017 03:20 AM #5
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Sandi Warner, Esq. a very important topic for buyers, sellers and agents to be aware of and knowledge about...and the magnitude of this topic becomes critically more important when the purchase is new construction.... that never ending punch list needs to handled properly prior to and at the closing to avoid the eternal chase.... my niche was new construction with 40 subdivisions listed and sold.. we had it down to a science and the walk through routine worked well for all parties...it kept everyone within the equation honest.

Jan 31, 2017 03:44 AM #6
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

sorry for rambling... and welcome to ActiveRain...it's a great place to learn, share, market and network....and I hope you enjoy it and benefit from all of it as much as I have over my past 9+ years here.... 

Jan 31, 2017 03:45 AM #7
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

A very important step in your Pre-Settlement activities ! You never know what you might find !

Jan 31, 2017 04:12 AM #8
Harry F. D'Elia
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

Welcome to Activerain and I look forward to more posts from you.

Jan 31, 2017 04:45 AM #9
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Sandi and Welcome to the Rain where we all learn from each other and help each other.  Make ita great day!


Jan 31, 2017 08:29 AM #10
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
RE/MAX Northwest. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

Who wants surprises when you get the keys? I see Sellers try the great cover up from time to time but the walk through puts an end to most shenanigans Sandi Warner, Esq.  I would like to welcome you to our ActiveRain Community. Please take time to explore the whole site and our different groups, it's worth it!

Jan 31, 2017 10:37 AM #11
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Sandi welcome to ActiveRain and congratulations on posting your first blog on this site.

Jan 31, 2017 03:52 PM #12
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Welcome to active rain. Thank you for the post.

Jan 31, 2017 04:10 PM #13
CA COASTAL ESTATES Lauren Selinsky Perez CRS
California Coastal Estates - Aliso Viejo, CA
"Your Real Estate Broker" #oclauren

"Walk through" is so important to conduct to close out your file too. Then, the closing.

Such thorough points in your first blog here. Well done.

We welcome you here on ActiveRain.

Following you now.

Lauren Selinsky

Jan 31, 2017 10:51 PM #14
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Good morning Sandi Warner, Esq. , Welcome to Active Rain and congratulations on your first blog.

Feb 02, 2017 07:47 AM #15
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