Before you close on your new home, you will have to conduct a “walk-through” with your builder. The walk-through provides an opportunity for you to identify items that may need to be corrected or adjusted and allows you to learn how your new home works.
The common items your builder will address during the walk-through include the operation of the home’s components, your maintenance responsibilities and any warranty coverage.
When you buy a new house, you will receive a stack of instruction booklets. These materials will contain information on how to operate the kitchen appliances, the heating and cooling systems, the water heater and other features in the home. The final walk-though allows you to talk to your builder about the operation of each item until you have the time to carefully read through the materials.
Another important task during the final walk-through is to learn about your maintenance responsibilities as a home owner. Most new homes come with a one-year warranty on workmanship and materials. However, such warranties may not cover problems that develop due to lack of maintenance. Many builders will provide a booklet explaining the common upkeep responsibilities of new home owners and how to perform them.
There any many items you’ll need to inspect during the walk-though. Carefully examine all surfaces of counters, fixtures, floors and walls for possible damage. Create a checklist of items that need attention during your walk-through and agree to a timetable to complete the repairs with your builder. Your builder will likely prefer to remedy problems before you move in because it is easier for them to work in an empty house.
You must be thorough and observant during the walk-through to avoid future hassles. For example, a dispute can arise if a buyer discovers a gouge in a countertop after move-in, and there is no way to prove whether it was caused by the builder’s workers or the buyer’s movers. Many builders ask their buyers to sign a form at the walk-through stating that all surfaces have been inspected and that there were no damages other than what has been noted on the walk-through checklist.
A thorough walk-through will give both you and your home builder peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your brand-new home for years to come.