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The Final Walkthrough - 5 Things Buyers Hate to Find

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The Final Walkthrough - 5 Things Buyers Hate to Find


Your closing day is almost here and the buyers have scheduled their final walkthrough. You've emptied the house, made repairs, and cleaned up. What could go wrong?

As a seller, you may be unnerved by this. Buyers are allowed to visit the house before closing and make sure the house is as it's supposed to be. It's mostly a benign visit with the buyers excited to head to the close.


What are the walkthrough hiccups that can occur?


The second refrigerator in the garage or basement, the stunning chandelier in the dining room - gone! It happens all the time - believe me. Unless you made sure the contract specified the second refrigerator, the seller can take it. This applies to shrubs and trees as well.

Sellers can replace the chandelier with a different one - as long as they specify that the item does not convey with the house. They can remove a special tree - if it's written in the contract and the buyers agree. What you write (or don't write) in the contract is crucial. 



The buyer never said they wanted all the paint cans in the basement. Why areOld paint cans there still shampoo bottles in the shower? Chemicals and cement mix in the garage?

As a seller, you're already taking everything you want. You must also take - or have hauled out - all personal items and debris. 




In Winnetka and the North Shore communities, hardwood floors are treasured. Many new buyers have them refinished before moving in to freshen them and change the stain color.

But any major flaws should be disclosed. If an area rug covered something unpleasant, it should be disclosed. Water from plants and pet urine are the two biggest offenders. It's possible sellers aren't aware until they move, but they should expect to hand over credit at closing.



Any gauges in walls or floors that weren't noticed before will need to be explained. Sellers should always go through the home after the movers are done to check for any damage. Of course, this should be discussed with the movers beforehand, but sellers should be prepared to repair the harm or issue a credit.



This is more of a Midwest issue since we have basements AND water. After the basement is emptied out, it's easier to see signs of water damage or seepage. This is an important one to check off on the Disclosure Statement (it's the #2 question on our disclosure.) 





Final walkthroughs encompass much more than discussed here. These are the issues most often brought up and are usually avoidable. Your deal could be delayed or fall apart at the closing table because of unresolved issues. 

Be sure to check the contract carefully- particularly if you have a section where you check off what stays with the house. And always state what you want to take with you that commonly stays with the house.


While you're here, please see all North Shore homes for sale:







Highland Park





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Winnetka and North Shore Real Estate Broker
Specializing in homes for sale in Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Northfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Northbrook, and Evanston.


Joe Manausa - Tallahassee, FL
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Well done Margaret. Bookmarked for sure!

Jan 31, 2023 03:26 PM
June Piper-Brandon
Coldwell Banker Realty - Columbia, MD
Creating Generational Wealth Through Homeownership

These are some good tips for anyone buying a home.  Buyers would do well to have you on their team.

Jan 31, 2023 08:40 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Margaret here in California the Purchase agreement spells out what the buyer wants in the initial offer, and it is up to the seller to counter them out or accept it.... we learned the hard way lots of :))) Endre

Jan 31, 2023 08:53 PM
Margaret Goss

Yes, that's how it works here. It's important for both parties to check that list carefully!

Feb 01, 2023 09:25 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Margaret - a final walkthrough has the potential of being a stressful situation.  Proper upfront preparation such as the advice you suggest may help reduce but I remain doubtful that tension of the experience can be eliminated.  

Feb 01, 2023 04:07 AM
Margaret Goss

It's more stressful than one would think. All that time working toward a close and a walkthrough alone could derail it.

Feb 01, 2023 09:27 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

One time we did a walkthrough and the refrigerator, while it did not have any items in it, was a truly disgusting mess. Sticky stuff, crumbs, gross gross gross. As were the counters, drawers, etc. Guess who had to pay for a cleaner for the buyers. And guess who couldn't move their stuff in right after closing. No one wants to see that!

Feb 01, 2023 04:38 AM
Margaret Goss

I know - I've had something like that happen too. My fussy client was promised a clean condo on a moving day. Didn't happen. I had to rush over with a vacuum cleaner and cleaning supplies because she couldn't delay the close and there was no time to hire anyone!

Feb 01, 2023 09:31 AM
Potranco Realty
Potranco Realty - San Antonio, TX
"Sold with Potranco Realty"

OMG! I think we have all had a buyer or buyers get to their new home without a final walk through and regret it. Great information for any buyers is to do a final walk through.

Feb 01, 2023 04:41 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Oswego, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Margaret. Be specific in the contract or the results could be horrific! Enjoy your day.

Feb 01, 2023 05:12 AM
Margaret Goss

I like your rhyme :)

Feb 01, 2023 09:31 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Margaret... great post. To avoid the arguments of what stays or doesn't, NC changed its contracts (listing and purchase) to specify exactly what stays and what doesn't. And if it doesn't we need to write it in if a buyer wants it.

Feb 01, 2023 05:55 AM
Margaret Goss

Nina - the more specific the better!

Feb 01, 2023 09:32 AM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Important post, Margaret.  Closings can be stressful enough without introducing fresh walkthrough problems. For Heaven's sake, please do not remove the attached Basketball Hoop from the garage.  I do not care if it was a gift from your long, lost grandfather.  IT WASN'T LISTED IN THE CONTRACT TO DO THAT!!!!!!!!


Feb 17, 2023 12:49 AM
Margaret Goss

Exactly! It seems innocent enough, but the buyers will insist on having it.

Feb 19, 2023 08:27 AM