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Inspecting your new home

As your home gets close to completion, usually a few days before you are due to move in, the builder will take you on a tour of the entire house. There are two reasons for doing this. First, the builder wants you to inspect the home in detail to make sure everything has been done right and according to plan; this is usually also a prerequisite for the builder’s new home warranty. Secondly, the builder wants to familiarise you with the systems and products in the home – how to operate, maintain and service them.

The inspection

Your builder will use an inspection sheet that you will be asked to sign at the end of the tour. Anything that requires attention or correction should be noted on the sheet, even very minor imperfections. That way, there is no debate later about who is responsible. Minor corrections are usually made before you move in; anything else will be dealt with afterwards as quickly as possible.
Here is a list of some of the items you should take a close look at during the walk through.

Outside

  • Siding – should be even, level and clean; no awkward seams; no nails showing; no gaps in the mortar between bricks; weep holes intact and clean
  • Windows and doors – verify placement, colour and styling details
  • Caulking – check around windows, doors and electrical outlets for even application
  • Paint and stains – look for even coverage and proper colour
  • Shutters, trim and other decorative elements – verify colour, styling details and secure installation
  • Fascia, soffits, gutters, downpipes – check the colour and secure installation
  • Roofing – verify material, colour, style; also duration of manufacturer’s warranty
  • Stairs and balustrades – check styling details, colours, secure installation
  • Lights, electrical outlets and doorbells – check placement and test that they work
  • Garage – check doors open and close easily
  • Grading around the house – paving and other hard surfaces should slope away from the foundations to divert moisture onto the grass or gardens
  • Driveway, walkways, sodding and other landscaping – check finishes, colours, patterns and any edging

Inside

  • Walls and trim – confirm colour; check for even paint coverage, no visible joints, no nail pops, no nicks and scratches, smooth grouting between wall tiles
  • Flooring – verify selection and installation: colour and grade; minimum of squeaks and spring; no ragged joints or edges and no gaps or scratches; even grouting between tiles
  • Windows – should open and close easily, have proper screens and no cracked panes
  • Doors – must be well-fitted and properly hung for easy opening and closing; check glass or mirror panes for cracks or nicks; test locks on outside doors
  • Cabinets, drawers, cupboards – check for smooth operation; proper configuration of shelving and dividers; confirm handles and knobs
  • Countertops – no nicks, scratches or uneven joints
  • Taps – turn off and on to verify smooth operation; no leakage or drips
  • Plumbing fixtures – check for chips or scratches; look for caulking around all fixtures; run water to verify good drainage; flush toilets
  • Electrical and other outlets – verify placement and test they are working
  • Light fixtures – turn on and off to see if they work
  • Upgrades and options – refer to the contract to make sure nothing has been overlooked

Getting to know your new home

A brand new home will incorporate the latest systems and products. Knowing how to operate the systems and take care of your home will contribute to years of problem-free performance and enjoyment. It will also avoid invalidating the builder’s or product manufacturers’ warranties due to improper use. In addition to a personal demonstration, professional new home builders often provide a homeowner’s manual with detailed information on the home, including basic maintenance inside and out.

Product manufacturers’ warranties

Many of the products and materials used in your new home come with a manufacturer’s warranty, as well as maintenance information. Your builder will pass these materials on to you, along with any warranties by subcontractors for products and services that went into the construction of your home.

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