Standard leases have several things in common, including a provision that states the following:
(1) the tenant has examined the premises;
(2) the tenant is satisfied with the physical condition of the premises before taking possession; and
(3) Everything is in good working order (except as noted).
So, if you haven't examined the premises by doing a complete walk through, why would you sign the lease? Do the walk through, make sure the checklist becomes part of the lease, and make sure there is a time is of the essence provisions for those material concerns. At the minimum, the checklist should be made a part of the lease, and you should receive a copy that day of the lease and all referenced attachments.
If the manager tells you "we don't give keys until the lease has been signed", tell him or her to keep the keys and do the walk though together. If the manager still refuses your request, you should assume there are major issues that need to be repaired. The safest thing to do may be to walk away. This is another reason to sign the lease at least a week or two before you intend to move into the new property. It's easier to walk away if the moving truck isn't outside the door with the meter running.