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Posted: 3/26/2002 2:51:55 PM EDT
Hi, We are doing our final walk through on April 2 and I need to know what I should be paying particular attention to in that walk thru. I know the part about looking carefully at the paint, but after that...help. Mucho thanks. Home builder is continental in Phoenix.
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 2:54:53 PM EDT
In case anyone is interested, I'm sitting here with my pen and notepad, ready to take down notes.
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 2:58:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2002 2:58:57 PM EDT by Wolfpack]
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 3:09:42 PM EDT
Here is my experience with new construction: Look at EVERYTHING! (Duh) Check every corner in every room to see if the molding (floor AND cieling, if any) was cut & fit right. This will also give you an indication of walls being out of plumb. Also give a quick look along the molding checking for separation from the wall, this will give you an indication of the walls settling. My stepsister had every piece of sheetrock in her brand new house buckle and split the tape because of shoddy wall construction, it was a heartbreaker. Look for signs of seam between the pieces of sheetrock. If you can see the nail bulges or a seam, something is wrong. Check the edges of the carpeting and any seams in the carpet like where a hallway begins, obviously they shouldn't pull up or show signs of fray. Also check the middle of the carpeted rooms for "lumps" in the carpet. Like the carpet wasn't stretched properly when installed and there is this floating "lump." Open and close every door in the house. Check clearance in the frame on all sides. This could be an indication of a frame that wasn't hung square. Open and close every window in the house. They should slide freely with little effort. Also an indicator of improperly hung frames. Check under all sinks and in the basement for signs of plumbing leaks. Sometimes the lines aren't inspected after the system is pressurized. Check all built in light fixtures and their switches, sometimes switches are installed upside down. Rarely you will find one that they 'forgot' to hook up. Also bring something to plug into random outlets to make sure they work, especially any GFCI switches in the bathrooms or kitchen. Make sure the gas works in the stove. Check the basement, especially out of sight areas, for any signs of water. Check the attic for any signs of critters! I know there is a lot more but these were some things that jumped out at me right now. Basically, you are handing over more money than ever before so be unbelievably anal and survey every single square foot in the house. TWICE! That's important, after the slow, nitpicky walk through, take another walk through and reassess the house. And don't be afraid to question anything that might even seem funny to you. Good luck!
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 3:19:04 PM EDT
if you paid a premium for any particular material (hardwoods, stone, etc.) make sure they didn't substitute lesser grade materials in less visable areas.
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 3:23:08 PM EDT
Write down everything little thing you see that bothers you. I made a list 3 pages long at my walk through! You are basically bargaining with the builder as to what they will repair and what they will not. It is most people's experience that the builder will not repair everything. They will try to do as little as possible after the home is built, so you want to try to get them to fix as much as you possibly can. Get the builder to put what will be repaired in writing before you close!
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 3:43:46 PM EDT
Check the high dollar items! For example, check the roofing installation particularly the flashing around the chimney. I once bought a house with backward flashing and guess what happened the first time it rained? Several thousand dollars worth of flooding...that's what! Check for hot and cold water properly plumbed. The same house had one toilet plumbed to the hot water system. (This was not an inexpensive house, BTW!). Check that heat and air work. They have some manufacturer's warranty for parts BUT NOT INSTALLATION. Might want to visit the attic if you can to check the installation and the duct work. Most ducts used down here in TX are now insulated flexible type - check for routing and kinks. Fireplace? Check to see if it draws the fumes out and up. Minor construction defects can provide a big surprise that really can't be fixed after-the-fact short of tearing the entire chimney down and starting again. Area known for shifting land? Check for foundation cracks and cracks in the brick mortar. Then water regularly even in the winter once you move in. Pool? Make sure everything works and you're happy with the pool's surface. A re-surfacing job can run up to $5k later on. A heater can be $2k. MOST IMPORTANT: Make sure the garage is big enough for the toys (Vettes, motorcycles, tools, etc.) :>) Good luck and congrats!
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 3:53:20 PM EDT
Among the other ideas that have been tossed around, carry a carpenter's level with you to check that every wall and door frame is plumb and level. Carry a broom stick with you to poke at the carpets, particularly in the corners, and see that they're properly stuck down on the pad. Check EVERY electrical outlet, not just some of them. Look carefully at the ceiling for any evidence of a badly done ceiling. The drywall shouldn't have any bulges in it and you shouldn't be able to tell where one sheet starts and another stops. Check weather stripping at every door and window. Check for any openings into the attic that a rat or other animal might be able to get into. Turn on ALL the faucets and walk through the house. Listen to the plumbing. If it's making creaking or screaming noises, there's probably a kink in the lines at that spot, and that WILL eventually turn into a leak. Make sure that all the cold water fixtures deliver cold and the hot fixtures deliver hot, and not vice versa. It's a common mistake. CJ
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 4:26:30 PM EDT
Dude, Oh man. An AZ house. OK. The best advice I could give is hire a professional home inspector. I'm serious. The amount of substandard building going on here (I assume you are in the Phoenix area) is frightening. Things you would have no way to tell (if you aren't a builder) can be out of whack. Who is the builder? For example, what do you know about how a roof is built? Sealed? Do you have tile (I hope) or flat roof? It seems expensive to hire a pro, but I bet in the long run you would save money due to the repairs the builder would have to make that he would catch that you won't. I think it costs about $200 to have a pro completely examine your house. Hell, see if he can do it before YOUR walk through. If the builder says no, I would wonder why he is concerned. In fact, I would recommend you do the walk through or professional examination well in advance of closing date so that if you find stuff, you make him fix it before closing. It is easier before you move in, and you'd be amazed at how fast things can get done if they need it to close a deal. The alternative is - what if the roof leaks in 3 years? What if your builder is out of business? What if he stiffed some of his subcontractors? This happened to me. Don't let it happen to you. James
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 4:43:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2002 4:46:29 PM EDT by dmuldrew]
I have the best advice on this subject that you will ever get. You cannot and will not find everything that is wrong or needs to be done onthe walk thru. Ans don't let whoever is going thru the house with you make you think that anything is too little or minute to deal with. Talk to your lender and have them put a big chunk of your financed money in escrow to be held until EVERY LAST FU*KING THING you find that needs attention is taken care of. You should do this because,(and this is no shit)your builder will not know that you exist after he gets his money. Have the escrow money paid out in increments over several months till every little thing that needs taken care of, repainted, refinished, replumbed, reshingled, etc is taken care of. That goes for landscaping plants and trees as well if the builder is supposed to supply them. Dude this is serious, your home is the biggest investment you will probably ever make, and you want to get all that you pay for. Talk this over with your agent and your banker. I wish someone would have given me this advice before I bought my latest house, but I won't be had again.
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 4:46:08 PM EDT
my .02 cents. Take two friends. Give them paper and pencil. Show them your printout of what to look for.(you do have a printout of this thread, right?) Ask them to walk through with you. Bribe them with beer, food, etc. Ask them to quietly walk the house and check it. Spread out, don't work together. When finished compare notes. I got good money saying your list will be missing items they caught and vice versa! TheRedGoat
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 5:01:01 PM EDT
The hiring of a home inspector is the best advise. I've built two homes, the first was slapped together by a large corporation and the second properly put together by a custom home builder with a handful of employees. After the first one I learned to check: Are the outlets plumb? Did the attic insulation get installed? Do the light switches flip up for on? Are there signs the concrete was patched already? Does the landscaping drain away from the house? Are the walls plumb? What happens if you fill the bathtubs and sinks, then drain them while flushing the toilet?(my current house sucked the water out of the downstairs toilet because the plumbers forgot to uncap a vent) There's more, but hire an inspector. I'd call my insurance agent and ask for a reference, don't ask the builder. Bob
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 5:03:06 PM EDT
Jimmycool nailed it. Have a PROFESSIONAL home inspector of YOUR choosing do a thorough home inspection prior to closing. Do not use anyone they reccomend, find one yourself. They will check things you won't even think about i.e. the temperature at your AC plenum. A good home inspection should cost around $200 and will be worth it. I have bought several homes for investment purposes and have had my butt saved from making major mistakes by a good home inspection. This is no area to skimp on! Good luck in yer new pad!
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 5:24:34 PM EDT
Apart from what all the other posts have suggested: First, take a small tape recorder with you and use it to comment on everything you notice and check. It is easier to sit down later and write out the results using the recorder, rather than taking notes during the walk-thru. It also helps you record what the builder's agent said during the inspection. Buy a plug-in circuit tester for about $5. It will show you not only if the outlet is live, it will show you if the line is reversed or if there is an open ground! Check EVERY outlet. Take a cigarette (or a few joss sticks) and check outer doors and windows for draughts. Dependent on the type of HVAC systen you have, you may be able to create a small over pressure, you can also check for leakage to the outside. Those leaks will cost you big $ over the years and they are easy to fix – especially when the builder does it for you. Not only take a level with you but also a framing square to check for correct 90 degree angle in corners – most will not be. I paid for an external infrared check of one house I bought, to check if the insulation had been installed correctly throughout the house. Check-out the Yellow Pages and ask for a price. Open a few taps (4), upstairs and down – leave them running and flush one of the toilets and see if the pressure drops to any significant extent – if so, demand a pressure test on the supply. Buy a thermometer and see how hot the water gets at the kitchen sink. Then, run the hot water in the bathrooms for about ten minutes, leave them running while you recheck how hot the water is at the kitchen tap. Take a hose and run enough water on the roof to see if the gutters leak and the run-off is sufficiently far away from the outside walls and drains/flows away easily. IF YOU DO YOUR JOB PROPERLY, the builder's rep will become pissed-off and make some kind of fuss, but it's your money that's paying for this house – and his salary too. Ask him this: "If you've built me the house you described when I agreed to pay you $xxx for it, I am going to spend the time to make damned sure it's the house we agreed on. Just like your boss is going to make damned sure that he gets my money!" A house purchase is usually the most significant purchase and financial obligation people get involved in. You're intitled to be an asshole when you check it out – in fact, on this ocassion, you owe it to yourself to act like an asshole! Good luck!
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 5:35:57 PM EDT
I'm not too sure about the humidity levels out there but you know as well as I that when it changes from winter to summer things like doors and drawers swell and stick. Oh yeah, as I told Ponyboy when he purchased his oasis, change the locks the first day! Every knuckle dragger on the job had access to your keys.
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 9:26:59 PM EDT
First of all, congrats on your new home purchase [beer] Lot's of good advice given so far here. ** Don't go alone - bring a friend/family member who's not buying the house. ** Pro's are a must for RESALE, Okay for NEW. Your builder will have their inspector there too. ** Videotape your inspection ** It should take about 2hours ** Put colored sticky-dots on EVERY fault you find (the builder's inspector ususally does this anyway) ** TAKE YOUR TIME - IT'S YOUR HOUSE!! INTERIOR: * open/close, lock/unlock ALL windows & doors * test ALL faucets & toilets (I know a guy who bought a new house and discovered the hot water line was hooked up to the toilet!) * check ALL outlets and EVERY electrical switch * safety check ALL GFIC outlets * Forget the 90degree square check - no such thing in new houses. * ALL cabinet doors close [u]flush[/u], no warps * Faults, bulges, streaks in paint & stucco - redo * No carpet puckers, loose edges ANYWHERE * All mouldings are complete (especially in kitchens) * look close in closets, ceilings, behind doors & toilets, for unfinished surfaces * Discolored tiles & grout patches - insist on replacements * NO CRACKS IN TILE OR GROUT * run all appliances (if already installed)
Link Posted: 3/26/2002 9:48:01 PM EDT
EXTERIOR: * run air conditioner AND heater - hot should be hot, cold should be cold. * check ALL paint, trim, stucco for FULL coverage - NO BARE SPOTS. * open/close automatic garage doors - test safety stops and manual releases * there'll probably be some cracks in concrete surfaces - can't avoid small cracks * Any cracks in garage floor, patio or walkways should not be more than 1/8 inch - NO "ALLIGATOR-SKIN" CRACKING - (crumbling concrete) ** RULE OF THUMB: If you can wedge a nickle in any crack in any exterior concrete surface so it stands up - it is UNACCEPTABLE CRACKING * very fine cracks in stucco around exterior window corners are common but they should be UNSEPARATED - NO SPACE BETWEEN * perimeter wall should be fully finished * check ALL exterior lights, switches and outlets * check exterior door trims & scuffs * check roof for broken tiles, shingles * all roof flashing should be flush I'm sure there's more but I hope this helps... keep us posted and again, congrats on the new house [beer]
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 3:35:41 AM EDT
What Jimmyb said, pay da man and save yourself some money, time and aggravation. Buying a house is the most important thing you can do short of having kids or getting married. Its both scary as heck and exhilirating at the same time. I wish you the best of luck. Merlin
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 4:46:24 AM EDT
[size=6]Thank You everyone, you have opened my eyes again. [:)] [/size=6]
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 5:01:13 AM EDT
I think you would be better off hiring a professional as well. I just had this done on the house that I'm buying and it was about $200. I got a sheet with [b]everything[/b] that he could find wrong with the house. He listed everything on a sheet down to burned out lightbulbs. I guarantee you that he will find stuff that you would never even think about. Well worth the money in my opinion.
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 5:07:19 AM EDT
In addition to everything above, get one of the little "electrician's consience" devices from Sears or Radio Shack. It looks like a 3-prong adapter with some LEDs. These cost about $5 and will tell you if the hot/neutral/ground are wired correctly in the outlets. For about $10 you can get one that will check GFI, but the test button on the GFI itself is usually OK to rely on. Lotsa good advice above.
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 5:39:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/27/2002 5:43:29 AM EDT by Tinker]
Get a tool and check each telephone jack as well. DON'T forget the exterior. Last house I bought, I found that one end of a 3 foot strip of trim was nailed down and the other wasn't. Was juuuuuussst starting to warp. By the time they replaced it it was curled up like a chow's tail. They had also replaced and primed, but never painted some other trim bits. Oh, by the way, I still have one wall switch a good foot higher than every other switch in the house. Never noticed the height difference until we moved in. Also, found door hinges with a different finish. Were all supposed to be antique brass, but the utility room to garage door had bright brass hinges. Oh,NONE of the light fixtures in the house were properly wired, none had the neutral wired. We found this when we changed out most of the fixtures, and added ceiling fans. Also, our house was pre-wired for an alarm system. The sensor for the sliding door was on the fixed, non-moving side... BTW, this was all in a Milburn home, a wholly owned subsidiary of Continental. And the inspector said we had the best home he had seen in a couple of years!
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