The final home walkthrough in NYC: what to look for?
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You finally made it and can see the closing around the corner. You are hours away from getting the keys to your new place. One of the last steps of the purchase process is the final home walkthrough in NYC. The walkthrough is the final inspection before changing ownership. It is never a good idea to blow off the final walkthrough. In this post, we will give you a final home walkthrough checklist.
The final walk-through remains the last step before closing. We’ll explain the purpose of a final walkthrough and provide you with a handy final home walkthrough checklist. Also, we will explain the differences between a final walkthrough for a re-sale vs. new construction.
What Is the Final home Walkthrough?
It is the last inspection of the property by a buyer and his broker right before closing. Brokers usually schedule the walk-through the day before closing. In some cases, it takes place on the very day of the closing.
Lastly, both the buyer’s and the seller’s agent attend along with the buyer.
What Is the Purpose of a Final Walkthrough?
The primary purpose is to confirm that the property’s condition has not changed since the contract execution. In practice, this means verifying that the property’s condition is intact since the last time the buyer visited the property. For example, the appliances must be in working order. Any inclusions specified in the deal sheet (fixtures, furniture, fireplace) are present. Also, any agreed-upon repairs got completed. The goal is to check everything is in general working order.
What to look for the final home walkthrough in NYC
A general home walkthrough checklist to follow is the following.
- Any repairs promised complete.
- Contractually agreed items in place
- All light fixtures work.
- Appliances in working order
- Bathroom operates properly
- Laundry machines run accordingly.
- Walls and floors not damaged
- No evident sight of pests
- Confirm all major appliances still present and in working order.
- Turn on and off the stove and the stovetop burners. Remember to turn off the gas.
- Check the temperature of the interior of the refrigerator and freezer.
- Test all lights and dimmer switches
- Run the dishwasher and remember to end the cycle before you leave.
- Test the washer and dryer
- Test all doors and door handles, including closet doors and exterior doors.
- Open and close all windows.
- Check for new scratches and scuff marks on walls, floors, and the ceiling.
- Test all electrical outlets with your smartphone charger.
- Test all faucets, flush the toilet, run the shower and check for leaks.
- Verify that the heat and air conditioning units function.
- Test the intercom, door buzzer, or virtual doorman system.
- Test smart home features and control panels.
Even though in most cases, the walkthrough is a formality, sometimes significant issues can arise. The unit is dirty, or it is not empty. The seller did not complete negotiated repair etc. With the above final home walkthrough checklist, you are all set!
To fix any of these issues, there are several solutions.
There is no one size fits all answer. The first obvious response is to delay closing. We suggest avoiding this option as it will cause significant damage if a lender is involved, and time is of the essence regarding loan specifications. We only keep that for irresolvable situations. However, the right solution is for the seller to provide concessions. Therefore, concessions remain economical or by giving a specific repair/work in the apartment. These will satisfy the buyer as well as the process with the closing as scheduled.
Another good alternative is to hold proceeds in escrow. The seller will get access to them once the necessary work gets completed and the buyer’s satisfaction.
There are as many solutions as problems. It is essential to have a broker looking after your interests in a transaction. Your broker at Nestapple is always with you during this final inspection.
Final Walkthrough for New Construction
This final walk-through is different for new constructions. In new buildings, we recommend two walk-throughs. The first one is to come up with a “punch list” before signing the contract. The final walk-through is to make sure everything on the “punch list” got completed.
What is a Punch List
A punch list is a list of items that the buyer wants the sponsor to fix before closing. Sometimes, those new constructions take so long to build that the sponsor is still repairing items after closing. Therefore, punch lists are sometimes incomplete at the time of closing. Sponsors do their best to complete the punch list after closing. There is no standard timeline for a sponsor to complete the punch list. Instead, the sponsor has to make commercially reasonable efforts to meet the punch list. The more prominent sponsors have a reputation to protect and generally do an excellent job with punch lists.
Final Walkthrough for Re-Sale
Typically a property in New York gets sold as-is. The seller will not agree to make any repairs or changes. The only time a seller might decide to make repairs is if the buyer is the only interested party. Therefore, the seller is desperate because their property has been on the market for some time. Even then, buyers and sellers in New York usually agree on a “closing credit.” This is a seller concession in closing costs or price, rather than require the seller to repair the apartment.
Final Home Walkthrough Is Not a Home Inspection
During the final walkthrough, the buyer only makes sure he gets what the buyer and seller negotiated and agreed in the contract. The final walk-through is different from the home inspection performed before executing the purchase.
We recommend every buyer carry a home inspection after the accepted offer but before executing the purchase contract. This will get the buyer maximum leverage in the contract negotiation. As we detailed in another post about home inspections, buyers can use this opportunity to find issues with the apartment and ask the seller to fix them. Alternatively, buyers can negotiate a seller’s credit (or a purchase price reduction). When the property gets sold as-is, and the seller refuses to do the repairs, the buyer and seller usually agree to a price reduction.
In our case, buyers must not treat the final walk-through like a home inspection. The goal is not to find things to fix. That should have been done already before contract signing. Therefore, the goal is to confirm that the property remained unchanged since the contract was signed. The majority of contracts specify the property gets sold “as-is.” This means in the condition that found on the date of execution. The appliances remain in working order and specify. Contracts specify any negotiated inclusions and exclusions.