Whether you decide to do (or not do) a home inspection by a licensed home inspector, you still have the option to identify problems with the house and address them with the seller(s) before closing and taking possession.

You can do that at the final walk-through a day or two or more before the closing. If your real estate agent does not mention this to you, I suggest that you mention it to him or her.

The reason for doing a final walk-through is that anything can happen from the time you contract to buy the house (or had the house inspected) through closing – and if there is a problem before you take possession, then it should not be your problem.

In essence, the final walk-through assures the buyer that the property has been vacated and that it is in the same condition as when it was purchased.

It also confirms that the sellers (or anyone else) have not removed or substituted any appliances, furnishing, fixtures, etc., that were included in the terms of the purchase agreement.

If any problems are identified, the buyer might address them with the seller and agree (in writing) how they will be handled, or request that funds be withheld from the seller’s proceeds to pay for repairs.

These negotiations are handled through the seller and buyer agents.

Here are seven things to keep in mind when doing a final walk-through:

  • Make sure your agent has all the keys and garage door openers you need to access the property.
  • Verify that all the appliances, plumbing, and fixture work (don’t forget to check the irrigation system if there is one and keep an eye out for a security system as well).
  • Turn on fans and vents in all rooms to make sure they are working.
  • Run faucets and flush toilets (outdoor faucets too) and check the hot water.
  • Here in the Lowcountry, run the air-conditioning (and furnace) to make sure they both work.
  • Ensure that items that were included in the sale are still in or on the property.
  • Tour the property inside and out and make a note of any exceptions that you notice.

If there are any problems, inform your agent, who will then notify the seller’s agent.

Larry Stoller is a real estate consultant and advertising executive who loves living in Bluffton.