Walkthrough Before Closing - Good Idea

It's a rite of passage that comes with every real estate sale. Just before closing, the buyer has the right to walkthrough a property to ensure that everything called for in the sales contract is in place and working. To get the best possible walkthrough, a buyer must be prepared. Carry a pencil and paper to write up any items that need to be finished.

The best place to begin a walkthrough is in the kitchen. Ovens should heat, refrigerators should cool and dishwashers should work. Water - hot, cold and mild - should be readily available. Next, start the clothes washer and dryer (if included) and let them run as you examine other parts of the house.

Here is a brief list of other areas to check:


  • Chimney - Should be straight, no leaning or bows.
  • Flashing - These narrow metal scam strips used to prevent leaks in roof areas should be flat and secure. All roof areas should be covered with either roofing materials or flashing.
  • Grading - Water runoff should be directed away from the home.
  • Gutters - Make certain that gutters are straight and firmly connected. Downspouts and splashblocks should direct water away for the home.
  • Landscaping - Trees, grass, plants and flowers should be in place at the walkthrough except when seasonal climates cause planning to be delayed. Plants and shrubs should be placed two to three feet from the house to allow for growth and drainage.
  • Exterior paint - Exterior paint should have a consistent color and texture, and thoroughly cover.
  • Shingles - All shingles should be flat and properly aligned. Bumpy shingles may allow leakage or hide underlying problems.


  • Air conditioning - Air conditioning should be appropriate for the climate and the volume of space which must be cooled.
  • Appliances - Ranges, refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers and other appliances should all work.
  • Attic insulation - It should be flat and evenly distributed.
  • Ask your builder about "R" values. Make certain the attic has adequate ventilation.
  • Basement - tiny settlement cracks are acceptable, but large ones are not. Basement condensation should be expected for at least a year in a new house.
  • Carpets - Carpeting should lie flat, cover all surfaces and have carefully matched areas.
  • Electricity - Service should meet local codes and pass the inspection appropriate for the house. Test all outlets, switches and lights.
  • Windows - No cracks or missing panes. Windows should open and close easily and lock securely.
  • Screens - Window screens should be in place with no rips or tears.
  • Fireplaces - A damper should be in place and workable.
  • Heating - The furnace should be appropriate for climate and volume space to be heated.
  • Inside paint - Check the finish in all rooms and closets for smoothness and missed spots.
  • Plumbing - All fixtures should work, with no drips or leaks. Water pressure to all areas of house should be even.
  • Thermostat - Check operation of thermostat for heating and cooling systems.
  • Tile and Vinyl - No bubbles, ridges, seam gaps or mismatched patters should be found in vinyl.
  • Weatherstripping - All windows should have stripping tightly affixed.

This document is intended for information purposes only and is not intended for any other purposes.