Most offers allow the buyer an opportunity to walk through the property at least once before closing. This is a term that is negotiated in the offer and must be agreed to by the seller. I’ve seen as many as three visits where the property requires work, but that would be on the high side where it’s a home that the owner is living in; after all, they have to clear out whenever the buyers want to see it. One or two is more typical.
Some agents recommend doing the walk through as close as possible to closing (when the keys are exchanged) to make sure that the property is in the same condition as it was when the buyer first saw it and that appliances have not been swapped out.
Personally, I think it’s very stressful on an owner when they are in the midst of a move to have the buyers come by and most times the offer says the walk though is to take place at a “mutually convenient” time. I also think that a seller who is going to try to defraud a buyer by taking expensive appliances with them and putting in cheaper ones is just as likely to do that on closing day when the movers are over. My home inspector always tests appliances and records model numbers, and we always ask for warranties on appliances, if any.
(If something breaks down on or before closing –dishwashers seem to be common– it’s up to the owners to fix it or replace it, by the way, not the buyer, so these are things the buyer should check as soon as they get the keys and get inside the house.)
Another reason that’s sometimes given for a late walk through is to make sure the property hasn’t suffered any damage, like water seepage, for example, which is a valid concern. The buyer is entitled to have the property delivered to them in the same condition it was in when they made their offer, and the seller is obliged to fix or repair anything that’s damaged after that. They are also obliged to disclose in the same way they are obliged to do so during the listing period.
More often, though, the buyers want to show off their new purchase to their family. Again, the purpose of the walk through should be disclosed when the appointment is booked. I had sellers who were very surprised when we had a request to show the property to the buyer’s family, and found 40 people traipsing through the house — it was the buyers’ entire wedding party! That’s not reasonable, and the seller had a right to know who was going to come through the house before hand, and not find out from the neighbours.
Usually, the walk through is to take measurements. So bring your measuring tape, but not your camera. This home is not yours yet, and the last thing the sellers need is information about their artwork, antiques, and personal belongings spread all over social media. You can show your friends the listing photographs you found on Realtor.ca or that were in the listing that was sent to you by your realtor, but be respectful. Wipe your feet, don’t open the chests of drawers, and try to leave everything the same way you found it. You’ll appreciate the same respect when the day comes when you’re the seller!