A Helpful Punch List for New Home Buyers

Your newly constructed dream house is almost ready and it's time for the all-important walk-through with your builder. Do you know what you should be looking for?

Some problems may not be readily visible, even if you hire a professional inspector. Fortunately, most builders offer a warranty to cover problems in the workmanship of a home -- they do not, however, cover problems resulting from owner neglect or faulty maintenance. Still, knowing what to look for in your pre-settlement walk-through is a good way to catch potential problems. Here's a helpful "punch list" to use from the National Association of Homebuilders:

Outside

  • Grading: Does the ground around the foundation slope away from the house? Make sure the water does not pond or pool in large puddles, especially near the foundation. To check, water the areas with a hose, if possible. Are there signs of erosion? Is the shrubbery placed at least 2-3 feet from the foundation
  • Roof and Gutters: Are the shingles flat and tight? Is the flashing securely in place? Do the gutters, downspouts and splash blocks drain away from the house?
  • Exterior Appearance: Are the windows and doors sealed and protected by weather stripping? Are the trim and fittings tight? Are there any cracks? Does the paint cover the surface and trim smoothly? Has landscaping been installed according to the terms of your contract?

Inside

  • Doors and Windows: Are all doors and windows sealed? Do they open and close easily? Is the glass properly in place? Are any windows loose or cracked?
  • Finishes: Is the painting satisfactory in all rooms, closets and stairways? Did the painters miss any spots? Are the trims and molding in place?
  • Floors: Is the carpet tight? Do the seams match? Are there any ridges or seam gaps in vinyl tile or linoleum? Are wooden floors properly finished?
  • Appliances, Fixtures, Surfaces, Etc.: Do all of the appliances operate properly? Are all of the appliances the model and color you ordered? Check all faucets and plumbing fixtures, including toilets and showers, to make sure they operate properly. Are there any nicks, scratches, cracks or burns on any surfaces, including cabinets and countertops? If you have tile counters or floors, was the tile and grout sealed by the builder or will you need to handle?
  • Electrical, Heating and Air: Check all electrical fixtures and outlets. Bring a hair dryer to test the outlets. Do the heating, cooling and water-heating units operate properly? Test them to make sure. If the home has a fireplace, do the draft and damper work? Test the doorbell. Also test the intercom system, garage door opener and any other electrical items.
  • Basement and Attic: Are there indications of dampness or leaks? Is there significant cracking in the floors or foundation walls? Are there any obvious defects in exposed components, such as floor joists, I-beams, support columns, insulation, heating ducts, plumbing, electrical, etc.?

Certificate of Occupancy: Has your local municipality signed off on your house?

As your real estate agent, I will be available to assist during all phases of your home purchase, including your walk-through. Please call me for more information on what you should look for and how I can help.

New or resale: hiring a professional inspector is a smart approach

Buying a home, whether a new or resale property, is one of the biggest investments you're likely to make. That's why hiring a professional inspector to check out your home's basic systems and structural integrity is so important. An inspector looks for and recommends changes that can make the difference in how much money you will spend for future repairs and maintenance. Even if you have a good eye for detail or are buying a brand new home, a thorough inspection by an experienced professional is a wise choice that can save you a lot of time, money and frustration in the future. Please call me for more information on how a professional inspector can make a difference in your home's purchase

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