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  The House Designers
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Tips for the Final Walk-Through

There is one final crucial step before you can move into your new home and that is the final walk-through to make sure that everything you asked for from your builder is completed and that everything is in working condition.

The final walk-through is one of the most important and exciting stages of the home building process. It's also a time where your excitement may cause you to overlook problems that may become costly after you move in, which is why we have provided this essential checklist to help you scrutinize important times during your final walk-through.

Make sure you spend time walking around the exterior of your home to check for loose shingles, secure windows, trim and gutters. Be sure your entire home is painted.

A standard walk-through can take approximately one to three hours and includes the interior and exterior of your home. Make sure that your builder covers shows you how all your major components work like the heating and cooling systems, appliances and alarms, as well as provides you with all the necessary warranties and manuals for your home's products. This is the time to ask as lots of questions. Take good notes and be very thorough and observant during the walk-through.

If you find problems while going through your walkthrough insist that they be corrected before closing. If that's not possible require a written agreement between you and your builder that itemizes the necessary repairs and requires a completion date. Require that your builder schedule two visits the first year you're in your new home to make any necessary adjustments.

Have a list of items you need to check, don't rely on remembering everything since you will be very excited about reviewing your new home.

Since you can't predict the weather the day of your walk-through you may want to spray water around key areas like your gutters to make sure they don't leak and that they are directing water properly away from your home. Check for pools of water around your foundation.

Check the roof and make sure that all your shingles are secure. While outside make sure that your siding looks secure and that there are no missing shingles or unpainted areas.

Make sure all the windows and doors are properly sealed and protected by weather stripping. Test all your windows and doors to ensure they open and shut smoothly and that all the locks work properly. If you have a garage, make sure the garage door opener works and that it is sealed properly.

When you do your final walk-through make sure to check that the railings and stairs are secure. Look for cracks, scuffs and scratches.

Check for any cracks and places where stain or paint may be missing. Look closely because there may be missed spots of paints in areas like closets, stairways and ceilings. Paint touch ups are probably the most frequently noted items on a walk-through, because they are the most notable.

Check your flooring to make sure that there are no gaps, scratches and squeaks in the tile, hardwood and linoleum. On carpeted floors, make sure there are no snags and the seams match.

Make sure all your faucets, showerheads and toilets are working properly (look for leaks and drips) and check the water pressure.

Turn on all of your appliances (listen for strange noises and make sure they are all level) and light fixtures to make sure they are working properly. It may not seem like a big deal, but you'll appreciate taking the time to check all your outlets.

When you're in your kitchen area make sure that all cabinet doors close squarely and that the drawers glide smoothly. Check the surface of your countertop for scratches or cracks. Look for gaps between your built-in appliances and the cabinetry and countertop.

For added peace-of-mind, consider bringing a professional home inspector on your walk-through.