When to Perform a Walk Through
Updated: Nov 5, 2022
There is typically not 1 "right time" for a walk through unless repairs aren't completed until <48 hrs before closing.
Typically I recommend 24-48 hrs before closing for only minor revisions, while 5 days prior for major revisions from the home inspection or on new construction on an incomplete home.
With the timing of the walk through, we are balancing the following: A. The closing date B. Your schedule C. My schedule (though I can pay an agent to fill in for me if needed, though I've had at least 1 complaint from buyers about even experienced agents for walk-throughs about things I know I would have done better about, i.e. not enough pictures of incomplete items & have a high opinion of my performance on a property for buyers compared to other experienced agents, even if they have more experience than me like that 1 complaint for a solid agent on pictures; also no agents I know at my company have access to all of the tools of that I have) D. An inspector's schedule (if using an inspector for it) E. The timing & magnitude of repairs completed, if applicable F. The liability of time between when the walk through occurs and when the home is closed. For instance, in a neighborhood of high crime, theft of appliances or copper is more likely to occur between a walk through and closing, especially if there are easy points of entry and not sufficient precautions. In the Winter, frozen pipes can be an issue. I once walked into a home for a showing with a buyer where the house had >$100k worth of damage from burst pipes. You could hear the water flowing before we opened the door. The listing agent arrived and was mortified.
G. Your timeline for move in - while I advise not moving in until the deed records (typically the next business day after closing) & having flexible work/moving plans in the event that the closing needs to get pushed back, I once encountered a scenario where a buyer was at the point of being evicted from her living space on closing day. A walk through in a more advanced timeframe in a situation like that is warranted, even if frozen pipes & crime could be an issue as was the case in that scenario.
For a more in depth analysis, see my spreadsheet on the subject here.