Congratulations! You've made your decision; you've chosen your new home and your builder. So what needs to happen next? Once you have a firm contract and you have selected the features that will go into your new home, it is time for the builder to turn your dream into reality.
You will undoubtedly want to visit the building site from time to time during construction to check the progress of your home. Professional builders welcome your participation and enthusiasm; however, for safety reasons you should not enter the actual construction site unless by special appointment-an unauthorized site visit may also contravene the local labour code with respect to construction safety and the builder's liability.
Questions or concerns arising from a site visit or a drive-by should be addressed directly to the builder. The tradespeople on the site each have their own area of expertise and will not be able to discuss your home's progress with you. Nor are they able to make changes without the approval of the builder.
Before you take possession of your new home, the builder will invite you to "walk through" the house to conduct a pre-occupancy inspection. Three to five days before closing is best-when construction is substantially complete but there is still time for the builder to remedy any minor imperfections. Anything that is not to your satisfaction should be noted for a pre-delivery inspection report. Minor items such as scratches and incomplete paint work will be rectified before your move-in day. Other items will be corrected after you are settled.
The following checklist will help you to inspect your new home.
- Grading-should be sloping gently away from the house.
- Sod-was it rolled when laid?
- Wood, vinyl or aluminum siding-should be even and nailed securely to the walls.
- Brick-should be evenly laid and clean, with weep holes intact.
- Caulking-check around windows, doors, garage door, electrical outlets and fixtures.
- Paint and stains-inspect for even coverage and proper colour.
- Trim, shutters, fascia and soffit-must be proper colour, of good quality and securely fastened.
- Shingles-are they clean, of proper colour and with no lifting corners?
- Garage-should feature non-combustible materials on the wall adjoining the house (for instance, gypsum board with sealed joints); the garage door should open and close properly.
- Basement-should be clean; no cracks in the walls; a floor drain in the lowest part; "Healthy" looking wooden joists (a minimum of splitting); instructions and warranty cards for equipment (furnace, heater, HRV, etc.)
- Doors-must be well-fitted and well-hung; secure locks for outside doors and door stops.
- Windows-must open smoothly; lockable.
- Walls-should be smooth and even; no cracks, visible seams or nail-pops; right color; even paint coverage; no gaps at electrical switches and plugs.
- Floors-minimum of squeaks and "spring"; smooth seams on carpet and other floor covering; even grouting between ceramic tiles.
- Plumbing fixtures-no chips or scratches; faucets operating properly; caulking around counter tops and fixtures.
- Upgrades and options-correct materials and quality; proper installation; right colours.
- General state of cleanliness-no construction debris; clean heating ducts; etc.
You might want to hire a private building inspector or engineer to conduct the inspection for you. Look in the phone book under Building Inspection Services.