New homes: the final walk-through

Buying a new home is like buying a new car. The sales team will make sure you walk all around it to make sure there are no marks, dings or nicks and demonstrate that everything from the stove to the bathroom sink is in working order.

A good buyer’s agent will also be there to go through the home and make sure the sales staff isn’t missing anything or glossing over problems that the developer is required to fix prior to close.

New homes offer two warranties. The “fit and finish” warranty is good for one year. This is the warranty that covers cosmetic issues. If paint cracks or fades, grout loosens, or floorboards split during your first year of ownership and the damage is not causesd by the owner, the develop should be on the hook for repairs.

The second warranty is set in place by law. This warranty covers building-wide components, like common area electrical, windows and the building’s skin.

The best way to manage a walk-through is:

· Starting inside the front door and working your way around the perimeter of each room

· Carefully inspecting the walls for uneven pain or spots that may have been missed.

· When you hit a countertop, leaning down to check for knicks or scratches.

· Cupboards should be opened to make sure the hinges are properly installed and rubber guards are in place.

· Making sure appliances are set plumb to the cabinetry and not leaning one way or the other.

· Turning on burners, checking the oven and the dishwasher (appliances are under their own warranty, but the developer should make sure they deliver them in working order).

· When plumbing fixtures, making sure the hot/cold runs properly and the sink stopper works.

· Checking to make sure the closets are properly painted inside and that sliding doors move properly on their tracks. You should be able to fully latch shut every door.

Ideally, the sales staff will have a roll of blue construction tape to mark off the items you find. But it can be wise to bring your own roll in case they forget theirs.

This kind of attention to detail can drive the sales staff a bit crazy, but remember that you are paying a great deal of money for your investment and deserve a sparkling new home.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email