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So you finally got the call that you’ve been waiting for several months to receive. You’re new home is finally complete. Over the past year, you’ve gone through the motions of building a custom home. You selected a floor plan, options, upgrades and made customizations. At the same time, you dealt with banks, mortgage and insurance companies, all of which collected money from you but gave you nothing in return, yet. Now, after all the chaos, you’re builder is ready to hand over the keys to you so you can move and start enjoying you hard work.

Before you do, take time to thoroughly inspect the property. Building a custom home can be overwhelming experience. Take time before moving in to make sure everything is up to par. Having mistakes, flaws and forgotten options fixed after moving in is much more difficult. Here are some common things to look out for:

Options – Take a copy of your contract and walk through the house making sure that all the options, colors and styles you chose ended up being installed. This sounds like an obvious thing but these mistakes can sometimes go months without being noticed.

Electrical outlets – Test every electrical outlet and switch in the house. Go from outlet to outlet and make sure all are working correctly. Don’t assume that, just because one outlet in a room is working, that all outlets are working. This will take about 30 minutes in most homes.

Plumbing – First, check that each sink in the house gets both hot and cold water. Then, make sure the toilets flush correctly. You’ll also want to run the showers in each bathroom to make sure that the drains operate correctly.

Flooring– Make sure the flooring in your home has been installed correctly. Here’s how you do it:

  • Tile – Gently tap each piece of floor tile in the house with a broom handle. If it sounds hollow, ask the builder to replace the tile. Even though the tile may not look out of place now, it will break or popup within a few months.
  • Carpeting – Take off your shoes and walk around the carpet in the each room of your house. As you walk, check to make sure that the carpet runs flush up against the wall. In areas where the carpeting touches tile or other flooring, walk along the edge. If it feels like thorns are under your feel, it usually means that you’re felling the small nails used to install the carpet. There’s an easy fix for this that your builder can do for you.

Most homeowners don’t notice many of the imperfections in their new home until moving in. This usually happens because they don’t do a thorough job inspecting, or are put under pressure during the final inspection. The best way to inspect a home is to use it as you would when you move in. Here’s what you do.

First, sit on the toilet in each bathroom and look around. You’ll probably spend a fair amount of time in this position so make sure you like what you see. Are the counter tops in the bathroom level? Does the tile on the floor and in the shower look even? Does everything else appear to be in order?

Follow this same logic and apply it to each room in the house. Think about how you will use each room and pretend to do so. Go into the dining room and sit in a chair. Again, look around the room and make sure everything looks in place. Go to the kitchen and open every cabinet door and drawer. Make sure the refrigerator door opens all the way, etc.

The advantage to doing a thorough inspection of your new home before moving in is that you can have the builder fix everything first. Once furniture, moving boxes and kids are in the house, small repairs can become a big deal. Save the stress and get everything right before you move in.

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