If you have made it this far in your home building journey, then you are almost there. There are probably only a few weeks left until the builder has you scheduled to close on your brand new dream home.
In the final days of construction, the builder is likely to have a number of things left to do - such as paint touch ups, flooring, and a few other small fixtures.
As the buyer, it is your responsibility to make sure the builder has done everything that they promised, and your home is handed over to you in a finished condition. The builder will want to close (especially before the end of the month or quarter), so they will try to complete many of the requests (within reason) that you make, in order to close.
If there are unfinished items, then you have two options:
- Move the closing date to after those items are completed. Builders will not want to do this, and often it’s a hassle for you also as it requires moving mortgage dates (quote may expire), you may have another home you have to move out of, etc. But, if you have flexibility, this is the strongest way you can ensure the builder completes the job.
- The second, and more common, option is to get the list of remaining work in writing and signed by the builder, which they must complete within 30 days of closing. This will allow you to close per schedule, and start to move in, but the builder may need to come over and finish off those remaining items.
Before your final walkthrough with the builder (usually the final week before closing), you will need to carefully inspect your home to ensure it meets your standards.
I recommend paying for a professional home inspector to inspect the structural integrity of your home (they usually wont comment on cosmetic issues though), to ensure everything was built to code (also do this before the drywall goes up).
The following is a compilation of Building a Home Tips for the final walkthrough, containing a list of common cosmetic defects you will want the builder to resolve. Any issues you find during your final walkthrough, make a list on paper, and also mark the location with blue painters tape so the builder can easily locate it.
General Issues to check in all rooms
- All lights are operational and no bulbs need to be replaced.
- All power outlets are operational.
- Alignment of power outlets are parallel to the floor and flush with the wall.
- All switches work.
- All windows open and close without obstruction.
- All doors open and close without obstruction.
- Doors are balanced and don’t creak or swing shut on their own.
- Door frames are not chipped or have unnatural dents in them.
- All interior door locks work and you have the key.
- Paint quality on all walls, ceilings, and doors. Builders tend to skimp on paint in the garage and other lesser used rooms.
- All plastering has been sanded down properly and painted.
- All trim and moldings have been painted white.
- No paint drips or stain drips left on the hardwood floors or carpets.
- Caulking is clean (especially around windows)
- Caulking has been applied to all trim and wall connections, and is not cracked.
- No creaky floorboards anywhere
- No lifting or mis-cut carpet (check edges)
- Check all walls for nail pops and/or exposed screws. For nail pops - visit the house in morning/noon/evening as these are visible depending on how the light hits the wall.
- Turn on AC and Heat and check to home heats up / cools down to the desired temperature within a reasonable timeframe.
- All purchased upgrades have been installed.
- No cracks or major chips in the garage floor.
- Garage Doors are operational and open and close as expected.
- Junction Box identified and functional.
- Cabinets are scratch free.
- Cabinet Handles are in good condition and properly aligned/screwed in.
- Cabinet Doors open/close properly.
- Cabinet Doors have proper alignment.
- Kitchen Sink is clean and not scratched up or have rust stains, etc/
- Kitchen Stove Top is clean and not scratched.
- No major dents or scratches in any stainless steel appliance.
- Countertops are clean and in good condition, without any discoloration or stains (builders/painters often rest their equipment on your countertops potentially damaging them).
- Fireplace is functioning.
- TV mounting area is identified.
- Cable and Ethernet outlets are in place.
- No gaps between walls and sinks/baths/showers.
- No gaps between bath tubs and walls/countertops.
- No cracks in the fibre glass tubs or sinks.
- All faucets are working, and water is clean.
- All drains are draining at adequate rate.
- Toilets flush.
- No embarrassing sounds downstairs when an upstairs toilet is flushed.
- Sufficient insulation has been sprayed for heat.
- HVAC units are in good condition and functioning.
- No gaps between roof and siding.
- No collapsed foundation stone / basement floor
- HVAC units functional.
- Grass (Sod) has been laid in all applicable areas and is not dead.
- Interior of home is silent (ie no whistling or vibration sounds from wind hitting area’s of your home). Examples are sidings not nailed down properly, or door/window seals not properly in place, causing the wind to whistle through.
- All landscaping shrubs and trees are healthy and living (check beds and street)
- All decorative elements (shutters, caps, pillars) etc are in place - compare to the model home or other neighbors.
- All trim has been painted.
- No major cracks in the driveway.
- All exterior brick, siding, and paving, is not cracked or chipped.
- No cracked or broken windows (all labels have been removed properly).
- Gutters and drain downspouts have been installed along all roof area’s.
- HVAC units are in good condition and functioning.
- All roof tiles are in place and not lifting or damaged.
- Hose bibs are located and functional.
- When hose bib is activated, no loud echo in the house from flowing water.
- Doorbell works.
- All exterior door seals are in place and tight, and not torn.
- All water runs away from the house.
- No standing water in the yard (should drain/evaporate within 48 hours of rain)