New homebuyers are usually so excited about moving into their new home that they may overlook problems during the walk-through before closing. But, taking the time to carefully inspect your home before your final closing may save you from a future nightmare. It is a good idea to hire a professional home inspector to walk through the home with you. Use the walk-through to familiarize yourself with the new home, receive documentation from your builder, and identify any problem areas. If you discover any problems, insist that they are corrected before closing. You can protect yourself before you close the deal with the builder by following these tips.
Before you close on your home, make sure the builder provides you with a list of all the subcontractors and suppliers that worked on the home, copies of all product manufacturer warranties, a copy of the builder's warranty, a set of drawings showing the stamp of the architect and engineers, and a description of the maintenance that should be conducted on the home. Taking time to get this information now ensures that you will have the necessary documentation if a defect becomes apparent at a later date.
Many defects in a new home are not apparent until years after the home was built. It is important to know the warranties -- both express and implied -- and the time limits of those warranties. Each state has a statute of limitations that can hold the homebuilders responsible for "latent" (hidden and not obvious) and "patent" (obvious) defects for certain periods of time.
Many items will be expressly excluded from warranty. The excluded items should be examined carefully before you close, because after closing the builder will not be required to repair or replace those excluded items.
Many homeowners are haphazard about the final walk-through because they don't know what to evaluate. That's one good reason to hire a professional inspector. Whether or not you hire an inspector, the following list will help you conduct a thorough evaluation: