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The First Walk Through

Provide a copy of Aadvanced Inspection Report to the Superif they have not already received it. 

The home should be clean before you arrive and substantially complete for your meeting.  You will need to review all cosmetic issues floor covering, wall textures and paint, paint over spray, nicks/scratches in porcelain plumbing fixture finishes, scratches in stainless steel sinks, test the operation of all cabinet doors and drawers, check that the reveal between cabinet doors are consistent. You will likely be marking all incomplete cosmetic details with a blue low adhesive tape (available at Hope Depot – paint department). The following are some things that will or may never be improved upon and which maybe irritating but common in most new homes:

  •    a number of switch and outlet plates that are crooked
  •    color variations on the tile edges around showers and tub surrounds,
  •    bow(s) in the interior walls
  •    lines in the drywall finish of the ceiling or wall under certain lighting conditions
  •    dead or missing light bulbs
  •    gaps at the base of the garage door(s) when the door(s) are closed
  •    garage interior finish is incomplete
  •    tire marks on the driveway – cracks in the driveway
  •    driveway surface finish does not meet your expectation
  •    cracks in the heavy decorative timbers at the front elevation or entry porch
  •    yard trees planted close to the home – trees are leaning – trees do not appear to be healthy
  •    no border at front planters
  •    the list goes on . . .

Remember the model home is the Builder’s representation to the public (minus items that are noted as an upgrade) as to the quality standard that you should be receiving. If you are unhappy with certain items in your new home the valid argument you can make is that the quality or item is inconsistent with the workmanship present in the model home. If your Super does not comprehend what you believe is obvious then you should meet the Super and possibly the builder’s Sales Agent at the model to view the differences first hand. I suspect that about twenty percent of the Supers are difficult and they have all sorts of reasons why they cannot change something or that you are not entitled to receiving a better level of quality. In the event you are getting nowhere then the person to connect with will be the Construction Manager. It most cases the Construction Manager is the individual who oversees approximately four tract divisions Supers and Sales Staff simultaneously. They are the go to person when all else fails. It is my experience that issues typically are handled courteously and quickly once you engage them.

A Good Super Will  

Be courteous, listen to your concerns, answer most of your questions satisfactorily. They will explain the warranties and provide you with a notebook that contains information about the appliances and products installed in the home. They will let you know if or where there is extra paint and floor finishes in the home. The Super will walk you through the home and mark cosmetic defects as you participate. The Super will likely explain that there will be some minor cosmetic cracks and caulking shrinkage in the home during the first year. Explain a number of things such as: the water shut-off, HVAC thermostat operation and programming, HVAC fresh air ventilation and filters, electric GFCI & AFCI devices, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, garage door operation and reverse safety beam, discuss sprinkler operation and timing, discuss water drain off from the lot to street . . . entering the attic space and not to leave the decked attic area (not safe) . . . the list goes on.

Have The Super Clarify All Warranties

There are limited warranties on things such as kitchen appliances, water heater(s), heating and
cooling equipment.

There are other warranties for window panel replacement for a defective seal; It varies with the builder’s vendor two to ten years. The roof typically will have a warrantee against manufacture defects from twenty to thirty years (this does not cover the workmanship of the installation).
Most tract builders provide a structural insurance package (often referred to as a structural warranty) which should include the foundation, structural framing and impacted finishes (in the event of structural failure) for ten years. It is less common for custom builders or small builders to provide this warranty

I believe that the statuary warranties for building performance standards are as follows: Builder all-inclusive 1 year for workmanship and materials, 2 years for plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling system, 10 year for major structural components of the home if a structural warranty has been provided.