What is the difference between a home inspection and a final walkthrough inspection?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Both the home inspection and final walkthrough are important parts of a real estate transaction, but they are sometimes confused with each other. A home inspection is conducted by a licensed professional inspector shortly after a sale contract is signed by the buyer and seller. It is a close examination of a home’s visible components and the inspector typically provides a written report with photos that itemizes any defects that were found. 

   The contract specifies a period of a few days or weeks within which the inspection can done and usually, but not always, the buyers have the right to cancel the deal if they are not satisfied with the inspection findings. There also may be dollar amounts spelled out in the contract as maximum allowances that the seller will pay for repairs of any defects that are found. Home inspectors typically take between two and four hours, but sometimes require much longer to examine the home.

    A final walkthrough inspection is brief in comparison, taking anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, and ordinarily is done by the buyers and their realtor the day before, or morning of, the closing. The primary purpose of a walkthrough is to verify that the home is in the same condition that it was when the contract was signed and that any appliances or decor items that were agreed to be part of the sale are still in the home. Also, if there were repairs the seller agreed to make due to defects found by the home inspector, the walkthrough is a last chance to make sure that they have been done—and are satisfactory—before the closing.

   Once in while we are asked to attend a final walkthrough to verify repairs, but usually a home inspector’s expertise is not necessary. Because the sellers have moved out and their furnishings are gone at the walkthrough, there may be some minor damage discovered in the walls, floor or ceilings that was not visible during the home inspection because the seller’s possessions were still in the home.

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  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

   Visit our HOME INSPECTION page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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