Final Walk Through Inspection on New Home
Final Walk Through Inspection Checklist
By: Mark J. Donovan
So your new custom home is nearly
built and you’re just days away from closing on it and moving into it. Though
you’re excited about moving into your new home, there is one more item you need
to do with your general contractor before the closing. That is, conduct a final
walk through inspection of the home. If you, or your bank, wait to the very last
minute you may either not be closing on the date you planned on, or accepting
the keys to a home that is not completely finished. And if you do accept the
keys before the home is complete to your level of satisfaction you may be a long
time waiting for it to do so.
In fact, you may never see your
general contractor again. So make sure you talk with your general contractor
well in advance of your closing date to schedule a final walk through
inspection, and that you’ve communicated to him that you will not go to closing
until the walk through is done and the home is complete to your satisfaction.
This way there will be no surprises for anyone just days before the closing.
Summarized below is a checklist for conducting a final walk through inspection
of a home.
Be sure to have a paper and pencil
with you when conducting your final walk through inspection so that you can
write down any issues you find.
Final Walk Through Checklist – Outside the Home
Start by walking around the exterior of the home. Check the exterior of the home
for any imperfections in the house siding and roofing. In particular, look for
loose or missing house siding or shingles. Also, make sure that all screens are
in the windows.
If the home has gutters, make sure they are installed properly and are pitched
towards the direction of the drain spouts.
Check the foundation for any cracks and that any bulkhead doors to a basement
are installed and working properly.
Make sure all walkways, staircases
and decks are complete.
Check to make sure outside spigots are functional.
Check that all electrical outlets operate and test the Ground Fault Circuit
Interrupters. In addition, check that all outdoor lights turn on and off
Next, check the yard to see if the finished area around the home is seeded with
grass and meets what was described to be done for lawn in the original Purchase
and Sales agreement.
Also make sure any shrubs that were supposed to be installed were indeed done.
Make sure to check if the species of shrubs planted are correct and located in
the right places, per the original Purchase and Sales agreement and plans.
If a lawn irrigation system was to be installed make sure it works properly and
that you understand how to use it. Also, while checking the yard, make sure the
grade of the landscaping is such that water will drain away from the foundation.
The last thing you wanted is a flooded out basement.
Lastly, relative to the outside of the home, make sure the driveway was
installed properly and to your satisfaction.
Final Walk Through Checklist – Inside the Home
Now it is time to move on to the interior of the home. Make sure to bring an
electrical outlet tester or some type of small appliance so that you can check
all of the electrical outlets.
Start the home inspection in the basement. Again, look for any foundation cracks
and make sure there is no water in the basement. Also, make sure the basement
has been thoroughly cleaned out and broom swept. In addition, make sure all of
the electrical wiring and plumbing is neat and properly secured. Moreover, make
sure any major beams are sitting squarely and flatly in foundation sockets. I
have personally seen beams literally floating in foundation sockets due to the
fact that the Lally columns were either placed too high or the foundation socket
not put in the right location. Also check for cross bracing between basement
Make sure the HVAC system is fully operational and that you understand how to
Moving up to the main living areas of the home, check to see if the floors
squeak by bouncing up and down on them. If they do, additional cross bracing
in the basement may be required.
Inspect all of the finished living area walls to make sure the paint is the
color you wanted and that there are no marks on them. Also check for any
cracks or nail pops in the drywall.
Similarly, check the floors to see that the flooring has been installed to
your requirements. If there are any ceramic tile floors make sure there are no
cracks in the tiles.
Next, check all electrical outlets and switches to make sure they work
correctly. This is where you circuit tester or small appliance may come in
Check the kitchen to make sure all the kitchen appliances are what you
expected and that they all operate. Also open and close all kitchen drawers
and cabinets to make sure they work properly and that there are no loose
hinges or other mechanical hardware. Test the GFCI outlets as well, if there
are any in the kitchen. If there are none visible in the kitchen, make sure to
look at the main circuit panel to see that the kitchen outlets are on a Ground
Fault circuit breaker.
When inspecting the bathrooms make sure all of the plumbing fixtures operate
by turning on the faucet handles and flushing the toilet. Moreover, check the
shower/tub and sink bowl for any cracks or damage. Also make sure the ceiling
light/fan works. Test the GFCI outlets as well, if there are any in the
bathroom. If there are none visible in the bathroom, make sure to look at the
main circuit panel to see that the bathroom outlets are on a Ground Fault
Lastly, check all of the smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors and make sure you
test their alarms.
Once you’ve completed your walk through inspection go over your list of issues
with your general contractor. After the contractor has resolved all of the
issues, go back and do another walk through inspection to see that he has
indeed made the fixes to your satisfaction.
To conclude, it is vital that you do a thorough walk through inspection a few
days before the closing. This will allow the contractor time to resolve any
issues you uncover so that the closing does not have to be delayed. Also, even
though the contractor may provide a warrantee on his work, you will have much
more leverage getting him to complete the work to your satisfaction prior to
giving him his final payment than afterwards.
For more help on building a new custom home, see HomeAdditionPlus.com's
Construction Bid Sheet.
New Home Construction Bid Sheet
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