So you’re within days of closing on your newly built home and you’re already to move in. Before you close on your home, however, it is important that you first do a final walk through on the newly built home. If you are intent on closing on the planned closing day, then you should preferably do the final walk through at least several days before the closing. This will enable the general contractor to have some time to address any issues that may be uncovered during the walk through.
Walk Through Checklist Around the Outside of the Newly Constructed Home
When doing a final walk through of a newly built home, start by walking around the outside of the home. Check for loose siding and roofing shingles. Also check the outside foundation for cracks. Make sure screens are in all windows, and that entrance ways are properly and completely installed e.g. stairs, decks, and walkways. Also check that the outside water spigots and outlet boxes are operational. Also make sure all outside lights are working. In addition, make sure ground fault interrupter circuits have been used on outside outlets. Finally take a careful look at the gutters to make sure they have been installed properly and have a good pitch towards the drain pipes.
Next examine the grounds / landscaping. Has the turf been properly installed and looking healthy? If grass seed was planted, has it germinated? Are retaining walls properly constructed and were they installed where you expected them to be? Make sure that all the shrubs that you paid for were installed in the right locations and were of the right species. If an underwater sprinkler system was installed make sure it operates correctly.
Also check the grade of the landscaping around the home foundation. The grade should be such that water will drain away from the foundation. If this is not done, expect regular basement water problems. Also check for pooled areas, where water is sitting stagnant. If you see pooled areas this is a sign that grading was not done properly. Finally, make sure the driveway was installed properly and to your satisfaction.
Walk Through Checklist for the Inside of the Newly Built Home
Once you have completed the walk through around the outside of the home, it’s time to check the inside. When doing the inside walk through you may want to bring along an outlet tester or small appliance such as a hair dryer to check to make sure power is operational to all outlets.
When performing a walk through on the inside of the home, start with the basement. Make sure there are no leaks or puddles in the basement. In addition, check the walls for cracks. Also make sure the plumbing and wiring is neat and properly secured. Make sure that you confirm that the heating and cooling system work properly. Also check to make sure that major beams are sitting properly in the foundation sockets. On occasion I have seen center beams floating at one end of the foundation. Either the lally columns were placed too high or the socket was placed too low for the beam.
In the main part of the home, check to make sure that the floors do not squeak and that all the doors and windows open and close properly. Also check every light switch and outlet to make sure that they work properly.
In the kitchen make sure that all of the appliances are correctly installed and are functional. Also check all of the cabinets and drawers to make sure they are functional.
In the bathrooms make sure the ceiling fans are all working. Also make sure the fiberglass tub has not been damaged in any way.
Both in the bathrooms and the kitchen make sure ground fault interrupter circuits have been installed.
Make sure painting is complete throughout the home and that all flooring has properly been installed. Make sure you check for cracked tiles, or cuts in the vinyl flooring.
Finally check the smoke alarms, and home security system. Make sure they are working properly.
If problems are uncovered, write them down and submit a copy of the list to your general contractor. After he has addressed the issues, go back to the home and revisit the issues you uncovered on your first walk through.
Conducting a walk through on new home construction, prior to closing, is essential in making sure you get what you pay for. If you find problems after the closing it will more than likely take more time and effort to get them corrected, even if you have a home warrantee/guarantee. A general contractor wants his paycheck, and if he knows he won’t get it until the problems are resolved chances are he will resolve them very quickly.