You’re just days away from renting the home of your dreams, and the only major task left is a walkthrough with your agent or landlord. Since the walkthrough may be your last opportunity to see the unit before signing the lease, it’s best to be prepared and know what to look for. The more detailed and thorough you can be during the walkthrough, the fewer surprises to expect down the road.
Things to Bring on a Walkthrough
Here are some important tools to bring for the walkthrough:
– A copy of the listing and lease agreement (if it’s already been provided) may include relevant information you can use as your reference point. Bring these items to cross-check against what’s actually in the unit you view.
– A notebook and pen to take notes. Alternatively, use the notes app on your phone.
– A camera or phone that takes pictures.
– A charger or any electrical appliance to test the outlets.
– A friend, partner, or family member. It’s always good to have a second set of eyes!
Here is a checklist of what to inspect during the final walkthrough:
1.) Check that the space has not incurred recent damage:
Carefully review each room, especially wall corners and doorframes, for any signs of damage that could have happened while the previous occupants were moving out or when staging furniture was moved. While it might have looked perfect a week ago, there could have been damage in the meantime. Check as if you have never seen the space before by checking thoroughly through each room and documenting what you see while you do so.
2.) See that the space was properly advertised and meets legal requirements:
For instance, if it was advertised as a two-bedroom house, see that it has two bedrooms. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of false advertising. It’s best to bring a list of amenities, features, and fixtures that you can cross off as you conduct the final walkthrough.
Some points of reference: For a space to legally count as a “room,” it must be at least 80 square feet, with no side measuring less than 8 feet. Legal apartments must have ceilings at least 7 feet tall. And the legal definition of proper exits includes a door and window in each room (excluding bathrooms).
Other code-specific guidelines can be found in the NYC Housing Maintenance Code. )
3.) Check for inclusions and repairs
Any inclusions or repairs specified in the lease agreement should be reviewed firsthand. Were certain items going to stay with the house? Was there a door needing replacement? Don’t take anyone’s word; look these over to ensure they are up to standard. If the home is from new construction, you will want to see that all punch list items were completed. Make sure to conduct tests to ensure that all aspects of your home are in working condition. Be sure to take the following actions:
A.) Test the electrical outlets
Just seeing an outlet does not mean it works. Bring a cell phone charger and test every electrical outlet in the entire space.
B.) Test the faucets and water throughout the house
Go through the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room to ensure the faucets, showers, toilets, and washing machine work. Test the hot and cold water, and don’t forget any outside faucets.
C.) Test the appliances
Turn on and test all appliances. This includes a fridge, freezer, microwave oven, dishwasher, garbage disposal, oven, individual stovetop burners, washing machine, clothes drier, and garage door openers.
If you cannot be present during the final walkthrough, and it is being conducted through video or Zoom call, you can ask the broker/agent or landlord to do the testing work for you. While on the phone, have them turn on lights, appliances and test water pressure throughout the space.
It is important to feel confident in understanding your future home and know what does and does not work. This protects you against unwanted surprises and future repairs. Your future self will thank you!