If you can’t tell by the title, this article is meant to be (more than a little) tongue-in-cheek.
You see, in the last few months I’ve had more than one reader write in about bad experiences they’ve had related to the walkthrough of their newly constructed home in The Villages.
All of these folks requested that I NOT share the finer details of their experiences, fearing that “the powers that be” would be able to identify who they are and, well, I’ll just let them say it:
I would feel more comfortable if you didn’t use my email…I’m sure they would be able to identify me from those details and…since I have several more warranty items to deal with, I would be afraid of reprisals from some of the “small thinking” urchins that run that department. I’m sure that a more generic portrayal of the details I am about to give you would serve the same purpose. – A reader
It’s important to note that your home is basically covered for 1 year “bumper to bumper”. So in theory, if you miss something on the walkthrough, you should be able to report it to the warranty department and get it taken care of without hassle.
But what some people have found, is that depending on the nature of the problem, the warranty department might push back a little bit on certain things, especially if they were not items listed on your walkthrough sheet.
I suspect this has something to do with the fact that we’re talking about thousands of home sales a year, therefore hundreds of walkthroughs are being performed each month.
The workload in the warranty department has to be tremendous, and as I’m sure you know its statistically impossible for every single thing to go smoothly every time.
Now, not everyone has a bad experience with their new home walkthrough. For every one or two that experience issues, I’m sure there are many others who would say they had a great experience.
And, in most cases, all the blame does not/cannot rest solely on the builder. Buyer’s are just as often at fault for one or more of the reasons I set forth below.
Also, keep in mind that even though this article is geared specifically toward the new home walkthrough in The Villages, the same “advice” applies pretty much anywhere you decide to buy or build a new home.
So without further delay, here are 6 ways to ensure you totally screw-up while doing your new home walkthrough in The Villages, and more importantly, what you should do instead.
1. Schedule your walkthrough for an hour before closing
Builder’s like to schedule your walkthrough very close to the time of closing for a couple reasons.
For one, they’re very often doing work up until the very minute your walkthrough starts, and even sometimes during your walkthrough. They like to use all the time they possibly have to get stuff done.
Another reason they like to keep the two events close together is to reduce the likelihood of issues popping up between the walkthrough and closing.
Example: A worker goes in to take care of something that was on your walkthrough sheet and accidentally drops a hammer on the floor cracking a tile. He says nothing of it…maybe he doesn’t even notice it himself…but you certainly do AFTER you close. Want it fixed? Sorry, that wasn’t on your walkthrough sheet.
[Note: You overcome this scenario by insisting that the house be locked up and sealed immediately after your walkthrough, and that all repairs/work take place when you are present from that point on.]
But an hour before closing simply isn’t enough time to diligently inspect your new home.
You should allow AT LEAST an hour and maybe even two to go through the home. So an ideal scenario might be to try and secure a walkthrough in the morning and closing in the afternoon.
Don’t let anybody rush you through the home. You’ll have enough on your mind without allowing time to also be a factor.
2. Go in thinking the builder is your friend and ally
Maybe you’ve gotten along great throughout the homebuilding process, and that’s wonderful. But for this important hour or two, you don’t want any type of friendship you have developed stopping you from speaking up about anything and everything you notice that needs attention.
Trust me, they want minimal items on that walkthrough checklist. If they take that sheet in and it has 35 items on it that the homebuyer said needs fixing, bossman ain’t gonna be too happy.
But this is your home, and your hard earned money, and you deserve to make sure everything is right. Don’t let your personal feelings towards your builder cloud your judgement or act as a filter.
3. Attend the walkthrough by yourself
This one should be obvious. Two sets of eyes (or more!) are better than one in this case.
And don’t rely on your salesperson for help. While they might show up at the beginning of your walkthrough to help kick things off, they very often hit the door once things have begun.
So try to bring a friend (or two) if at all possible.
4. Leave your camera at home
Either bring a camera or use the one on your cell phone and take pictures of EVERYTHING. Nothing combats “that wasn’t like that before” like a good photo.
And don’t just take pics of stuff that needs to be fixed.
Take photos of as much as you can. Flooring, countertops, appliances, bathtubs, vanity tops, toilets, and on and on. Anything that could potentially be damaged between walkthrough and closing.
5. Use the builder’s checklist as your guide
Have you ever seen a move-in or move-out checklist for a rental? Those things are like a mile long and ask you to inspect and report on everything under the sun.
In most communities the builder’s walkthrough worksheet will be built for speed.
You need to come armed with your own checklist of things to inspect, otherwise you might forget, and the sheet most builders provide certainly doesn’t cover it all.
I have a whole section in Complete Guide to The Villages dedicated to things you need to be checking for during your walkthrough, so I won’t list them all here. Just buy the book and write these things down or print ’em out and bring with you 😉
6. Focus solely on the inside of the home
Another big no no. Sure, most of the things you’ll care about are inside the home. But don’t forget to inspect things on the outside as well, such as hose bibs, what you can see of the roof and shingles, A/C units, and more.
Again, I’ve got a whole list of things for you to inspect here.
If you follow the steps I’ve laid out above, I can virtually guarantee you’ll have a miserable new home walkthrough experience in The Villages or anywhere else you choose to buy or build a brand new home.
But if you keep these potential pitfalls in mind, do a little advanced planning and come prepared, you should have a much better walkthrough experience.