New Construction Walkthrough Checklist: Your Easy Guide to Home Inspections

When it comes to purchasing a newly constructed home, conducting a thorough walkthrough before closing is essential to ensuring that everything is in order and meets your expectations. From checking the quality of workmanship to inspecting for any defects or issues, a comprehensive walkthrough can help you identify any concerns and address them with the builder before it’s too late.

In this article, we will provide you with a detailed new construction walkthrough checklist to help you navigate this important step in the homebuying process.

Pre-Walkthrough Preparation

Before starting your new construction walkthrough checklist, prepare yourself to ensure a thorough inspection of your soon-to-be home. Here are a few actions you can take to make the process easier and more effective.

1. Gather information Begin by collecting all relevant documentation about your new home, including the floor plan, purchase agreement, and any information from the builder or developer regarding specifications and materials used in construction. This will provide a solid foundation for your understanding of the home and enable you to identify potential discrepancies during the walkthrough.

2. Enlist professional help Involve a real estate agent with experience in new construction during this process. They can provide valuable insights and assist you in identifying potential issues before closing. Additionally, consider hiring a home inspector to provide a detailed assessment of your new home, even if it’s a newly-built property.

3. Download and customize a checklist template There are many new construction walkthrough checklist templates available online, like the ones from Redfin or Workyard. Download a template that best fits your needs and customize it to include any specific items or features related to your home. This will help guide you throughout the walkthrough and ensure nothing is overlooked.

4. Schedule ample time Before setting a date for the walkthrough, make sure to allocate sufficient time to conduct a thorough inspection. This is a critical step in the home-buying journey, so don’t rush through it. You don’t want to discover issues after closing, when it’s too late to address them.

Exterior Inspection

Foundation and Landscaping

When inspecting the exterior of your new construction, start by checking the foundation for cracks or uneven surfaces. Assess the grading around the house to ensure proper water drainage. The landscaping should be well-maintained and properly installed to prevent future issues. Check for any potential hazards such as tree limbs near the roof or overgrown plants obstructing walkways.

Roof and Gutters

Next, take a close look at the roof. Make sure the shingles are properly installed and there are no visible signs of damage or missing shingles. Inspect the gutters and downspouts to ensure they are securely attached and free of debris. Verify that the gutter system is directing water away from your home’s foundation.

Windows and Doors

Inspect all windows and doors for proper installation and sealing. Make sure the window frames and door jambs are straight and even, without any gaps that could cause drafts or energy loss. Test the functionality of all windows and doors, ensuring they open and close smoothly. Don’t forget to examine the garage door as well, checking for smooth operation and proper sealing.

Porches, Decks, and Driveways

Finally, take a look at your home’s porches, decks, and driveways. Look for cracks in the concrete or pavers and make sure the surfaces are level. Inspect the porch and deck for proper construction, including sturdy railings and secure steps. Confirm that any hardscaping elements, such as walkways and retaining walls, are well-constructed and stable.

Interior Systems Check

Electrical and Lighting

During your walkthrough, it’s essential to check the electrical systems. Start by testing all the outlets using a simple outlet tester or a small device, such as a phone charger. Verify that each switch operates the appropriate light fixture or fan. Don’t forget to examine the electrical panel as well, ensuring proper labeling and easy access.

For the lighting components, check all bulbs and ensure they are functioning correctly. Pay attention to installed light fixtures, and confirm they are secure and aligned.

Plumbing and Water

In this phase of the walkthrough, focus on the plumbing work. Begin with a thorough inspection of the toilets, sinks, and showers. Flush each toilet to ensure proper function and check for leaks around the base. Test the water pressure at every sink and showerhead, making sure they all have hot and cold water supplies.

Keep an eye out for any visible leaks, slow drains, or dripping faucets that may need attention. Also, don’t forget to examine the pipes beneath the sinks for any signs of damage or corrosion.

Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation

Last but not least, evaluate the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. Familiarize yourself with the HVAC system controls and test them to make sure they function correctly. Ensure the heating and cooling systems operate efficiently, and note any unusual noises or vibrations that might indicate an issue.

Inspect all vents and registers for proper airflow and unobstructed passages. Verify proper installation and sealing of ductwork. Finally, don’t forget to take a look at the filters and confirm they are clean and properly installed to promote good air quality in your new home.

Interior Finishes

When conducting a new construction walkthrough, it’s essential to pay close attention to the interior finishes. In this section, we’ll focus on three main categories: Walls and Ceilings, Flooring and Trim, and Paint and Wall Coverings. Keeping a careful eye on these elements ensures your new home is up to par with your expectations.

Walls and Ceilings

During your walkthrough, make sure to inspect your walls and ceilings carefully. Look for any imperfections, such as dings, cracks, and irregular surfaces. Since these are the most visible areas in your home, it’s crucial to ensure they’re in pristine condition. Remember to be thorough and check:

  • Drywall for seams, nails, cracks, and holes
  • Corners and edges for proper alignment
  • Light switches and outlets for proper placement and functionality

Flooring and Trim

Moving on to the floors and trim, take your time to scrutinize all areas of your home. Some key things to examine include:

  • Flooring materials: Check for any inconsistencies, scratches, or other flaws that might affect the overall finish.
  • Baseboards and crown molding: Ensure they’re securely installed, with no gaps or imperfections.
  • Doors and windows: Confirm they operate smoothly, with adequate sealing and weatherstripping.

Paint and Wall Coverings

Lastly, you’ll want to examine the paint and wall features. Be sure to assess the following:

  • Paint quality and color consistency: Look for any unevenness or discrepancies, and note if touch-ups are needed.
  • Wallpaper and wall coverings: Confirm they’re securely adhered to the walls, with no bubbles or peeling edges.
  • Cabinets and countertops: Open and close all drawers and cabinet doors to see if they move smoothly. Look for chips and scuffs on the paint. Check kitchen countertops for cracks or imperfections.

Kitchen and Bathrooms

When conducting a new construction walkthrough, paying close attention to the kitchen and bathrooms is crucial. These spaces contain many essential appliances, fixtures, and elements. By carefully examining each aspect, you can ensure that everything is functioning properly and meets your expectations.

Appliances and Fixtures

Start by inspecting all appliances in the kitchen, such as the refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, and dishwasher. Ensure they are correctly installed, level, and working properly. In the bathroom, check the toilets, exhaust fans, and all plumbing fixtures, including faucets and showerheads.

  • Refrigerator: Make sure it’s level, doors seal correctly, and the ice maker (if applicable) is working.
  • Stove/Oven: Verify that all burners ignite, the oven heats up efficiently, and there are no gas leaks.
  • Microwave: Check its functions, heating capabilities, and ventilation system.
  • Dishwasher: Ensure it’s securely mounted, the door latches, and it runs through a complete cycle.
  • Toilets: Make sure they flush properly, fill up to the correct level, and don’t have leaks.
  • Exhaust Fans: Verify that they are working effectively and venting to the exterior.
  • Plumbing Fixtures: Inspect for proper water pressure, temperature, and drainage.

Cabinets and Countertops

Examine the quality, installation, and alignment of all cabinets and countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms. Ensure doors and drawers open and close smoothly, without any sticking or rubbing.

  • Alignment and Installation: Cabinets should be level and securely fixed to the wall without any gaps. Countertops should be properly sealed, without any visible seams or unevenness.
  • Hardware: Inspect handles and knobs for proper installation and functionality. Check hinges for smooth operation and proper alignment.
  • Quality: Look for any cracks, dents, or scratches on the surfaces. Verify that the materials are of the expected grade and finish.

Tubs, Showers, and Sinks

In both the kitchen and bathrooms, carefully inspect the installation of tubs, showers, and sinks. Make sure that they are level, correctly sealed, and free of any damage or stains. Verify that the drainage systems are functioning correctly and efficiently.

  • Sealing: Confirm that the caulking around tubs, showers, and sinks is well-applied and free of gaps or cracks.
  • Drainage: Run water in all fixtures for an appropriate amount of time to ensure efficient drainage.
  • Water Pressure and Temperature: Test the water pressure in all showers, tubs, and sinks. Confirm that the hot and cold water supply is functioning correctly.
  • Functionality: Make sure that the tub, shower, and sink faucets work properly and have no leaks.

Finalization and Follow-Up

During the final walkthrough, it’s important to have a keen eye for detail. Bring your builder, agent, and home inspector along if possible, as they can offer valuable insights and help ensure the quality and safety of your new house. The goal is to identify any issues that need to be addressed before closing the real estate transaction.

Begin with a blue tape walkthrough to identify areas that need touch-ups or corrections. You and your team should examine every nook and cranny, looking for any signs of damage or wear. Make a list of these items, and be sure to communicate your findings with the builder promptly to have them resolved.

Next, verify the structural integrity of the home by looking for cracks or imperfections in the foundation, walls, and ceilings. This step is crucial because structural issues can lead to long-term damage if not addressed. Your home inspector will be particularly helpful in this task, offering their expertise and assessing any potential risks.

After that, check all HVAC units to make sure they are operating efficiently and effectively. This is particularly important because a malfunctioning HVAC system can lead to poor air quality and high energy costs. It’s always a good idea to have your home inspector test the HVAC system to ensure it’s in good working order.

Moving on, evaluate the overall safety of your home. This includes checking for properly installed fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and a functional exterior lighting system. Your agent and home inspector can guide you through this process and assist in identifying anything that may not be up to code or standard. Safety should always be a top priority for homebuyers when purchasing a new house.

Lastly, don’t forget to follow up with the seller regarding any agreed-upon repairs or adjustments. It’s essential to keep communication lines open and ensure complete satisfaction before finalizing the home inspection process.

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Nicole-Mickle

I’m Nicole Mickle, a real estate agent in Orlando, Florida. I’m here to assist you in making the most out of your Florida lifestyle.

In addition, I’m the author behind¬†Florida Homes and Living, a blog dedicated to sharing valuable content about Orlando, interior design, remodeling, and the Florida lifestyle.

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