8.New Construction Orientation
Scheduled prior to closing, a Homeowner Orientation is an introduction to your new home and all of its features. Plan to spend a few hours as you’re guided by your builder or their representative through your home room-by-room to inspect your new home as it nears construction completion. If you have used a Realtor in your home buying process, it is a good idea to ask them to join you for this process. Realtors have likely seen many more homes than you have and your Realtor may spot things you might miss. You’ll be given the chance to ask questions, see the progress, and submit any concerns that may arise.
The homeowner orientation/pre-delivery walkthrough is designed to:
- Confirm the personalized selections you made throughout your home
- Give you a full demonstration of your home and its features
- Let you inspect the home to ensure it’s built as per your requirements and is in the perfect expected condition
- Review of all key points, maintenance details, and warranty coverage
Preparing For Your Orientation/Pre-delivery Walkthrough
Your orientation, also known as a pre-settlement inspection, is the chance for you to become well acquainted with your new home. It’s also your opportunity to make sure the home meets the quality standards you’re expecting and that the fixtures and finishes you ordered have been correctly installed.
During your orientation, you should take the time to inspect specific details that may need your attention. Since cosmetic surface damage can occur during construction, it will be noticeable during your orientation, but is generally quite fixable. However, it’s important to note and report to your builder any damage, cosmetic or otherwise, that you observe during the orientation walkthrough.
List everything that you observe that is not as it should be and provide that list to your builder, while keeping a copy for yourself. It is a good idea for both of you to sign and date the list as evidence of when it was provided. It is also a good idea to set an expected completion date for the items on the list and to note that on both copies as well. In the building industry, this sort of list is known as a “punch list.” Your builder is obligated to address the items on it and is likely to be eager to address and repair them to close the sale of your home.
Be aware that it is not uncommon for more minor items on the punch list (those not affecting habitability) to not be addressed until after you close. Your builder’s responsibility to deliver a quality home does not end on the day your purchase of it occurs and your builder will work with you even after your closing to be certain that all of your follow-up items are addressed to your satisfaction.
Homeowner Orientation/Pre-delivery Walkthrough Checklist:
- Driveway and Sidewalk Condition: Are they in good shape? Are there any cracks or pitting?
- Roof Shingles: Are any missing or damaged?
- Doors and Drawer Hardware: Check both interior and exterior. Do they function smoothly? Do the locks work?
- Exterior Siding: Is it in good condition with no cracks or breaks?
- Gutters and Downspouts: Are the gutters level? Are the downspouts properly attached?
- Landscaping and Irrigation: – Is what was supposed to be planted, what is in the ground? Are the plants, trees and lawn in good condition? Test the Irrigation. If there is an automatic timer is it set and working properly?
- Exterior Lights: Do they work properly? If there is an automatic timer, is it set and working properly?
- Security System/Cameras: Do they work properly?
- Exterior paint: Are painted surfaces smooth with no runs, drips or missed spots? Are the colors correct?
- Mailbox: If it is key-operated, does the key work? Is the mailbox well set into the ground?
- Interior Paint: Are painted surfaces smooth with no runs, drips or missed spots? Are the colors correct?
- Drywall: Is it in good condition with no gouges, scrapes or other damage?
- Flooring: Is it the flooring you ordered? Is it in good condition with no scratches or other damage?
- Railings and banisters: Are they securely affixed with no wobbles or looseness?
- Windows: Open and close every window. Do they all operate smoothly? Do they lock easily? If they tilt in for cleaning the window exterior, tilt every one in and be certain it functions correctly. Do the windows all have screens?
- Doors: Open and close all doors. Do they operate smoothly? Do the locks work easily?
- Plumbing: Turn on every faucet. Does each sink have hot and cold water? Do the sinks drain as quickly as they should? When you turn off the water, do any of the faucets drip?
- Toilets: Flush every toilet. Do they operate properly? Do they refill as they should and does the water turn off after the tank has refilled?
- Appliances: Are the finishes smooth and clean with no scratches or other damage?
- Refrigerator/Freezer: Do they operate as they should? Fridge to 36 degrees and freezer to 0?
- Washer/Dryer: Run the washer through a complete cycle – did it fill and drain properly? Does the dryer get hot as it should? Does the drum turn as it should?
- Dishwasher: Run through a complete cycle. Does it work properly? No leaks?
- Garbage Disposal: Does it function as it should?
- Oven: Bring a small oven thermometer with you (available at any hardware or kitchen supply store) to check that the temperature to which you set the oven is the temperature at which it operates.
- Stove: Do all of the burners operate properly? Does the exhaust fan operate properly?
- Heating and Air Conditioning: Test the system to be sure that it turns on when it should and produces warm or cold air as required.
- Heated floors: (if applicable) Turn them on to be sure that the entire floor surface warms as it should.
- Lights and Light Fixtures: Turn on every light in each room to be certain that they all work, they all have light bulbs and that the fixtures are not damaged in any way.
- Electrical Outlets: Bring a small electrical device with you. Plug it into every outlet in the house to check that each outlet is functioning properly.
- GFI Electrical Outlets: Press the “Test” button to be certain that these outlets turn off as they should, then the “Reset” button to be certain that they again function once reset.
- Countertops and Cabinets in the Kitchen and Bath: Are they free of chips, nicks or scratches? Is all the cabinet hardware firmly affixed? Do the doors open and close easily and do they align when they are closed?
- Circuit Breakers: Are they labeled in the panel box? Test them to be sure that the labels are accurate.
This is not a complete list of everything that you should review when you walk through your new home. It is intended to get you started and to identify the most common areas in which something that needs to go on your punch list might be found.
If your new home is still under construction at the time of your walk-through you may need to attend a safety meeting before doing your orientation, and/or may be required to wear safety gear supplied by the builders. If you have small children, you’re encouraged to leave them with a family member or sitter during the orientation for their safety.