Tips For a Successful Walkthrough for Houston New Homes

By: Tim Dillard

Houston is growing by leaps and bounds, both in population and in new construction. Many of the newest residents are buying brand new custom and semi-custom homes in beautifully planned communities.

Before the final settlement, builders will do a final walk-through with the buyers in Houston. New homes will have a chance to show off their features and special touches that were built into the home. For the buyer, it's a chance to get to know about their new home and spot any things that need to be adjusted or repaired before the final closing.

Many buyers are so excited at the prospect of closing on their new place in Houston. New homes are not taken full advantage of by the opportunity provided by the final walk-through. Here are some tips from the Greater Houston Home Builders Association for how to get the most out of the walk-through on new homes.

Many builders will use the walk-through to fill the buyers in on things like how to operate the home's appliances and components, maintenance that will be the responsibility of the homeowner, explanation of the warranties and how to get warranty coverage, even information about the community itself.

The builder or builder's representative may take the opportunity to show the new homeowner how to operate the water heater, the kitchen appliances, the heating and cooling systems and any other operating systems that are part of the home. Taking the time to listen carefully and take notes on the information can help you avoid overlooking something important or making a costly mistake. Among the important information you should ask about or listen for:

- Maintenance and upkeep of all appliances and home components

Most new homes come with a one year warranty on workmanship and materials. The warranty will usually only be valid if the homeowner follows the instructions for maintenance and upkeep, which the builder will usually provide in a booklet or packet of materials. If the builder doesn't offer it, ask about warranty information and maintenance instructions for all of your new home's systems.

- Warranty procedures for your new homes' systems

Many Houston new homes builders have specific procedures that must be followed when requesting warranty service for your home or any of its systems. In many cases, you'll be required to submit your request for service in writing to prevent miscommunication.

- Follow-up and scheduled repair visits

Many home builders will schedule one or two visits in the first year after your home is completed to make any necessary adjustments and to perform repairs that are not emergencies. Many minor problems are due to the home settling and can be dealt with in one visit toward the end of your first year in your new home.

- Information about the community

The builder may provide a packet of information about your new community to help you get to know it. It's a courtesy that most new home builders in Houston offer, especially to those moving to the area from far away.

- Repairs and adjustments checklist

Before the walk-through, make a checklist of all the items in the house that should be checked, and check them with the builder present. Note any items of concern on the checklist, and discuss it with the builder. The list should include everything that needs attention, and you and the builder should agree to a timetable for the repairs to be finished.

- Examine all surfaces in the house carefully - floors, walls, counter tops, fixtures - everything.

If you find any damage to any surface, make a note of it on the checklist. Be certain that you don't sign off on the checklist unless it accurately reflects all the points that you and the builder have discussed during the walk-through.

- Ask questions whenever you're not sure you understand something.

Take notes on the answers so that you'll have a reference. It's far too easy to forget something important in the excitement of closing on your new home.

- If there were repairs needed after the home inspection, pay particular attention to be certain that they were completed properly.

The walk-through is an excellent chance to get to know your new home and learn the things you need to know to enjoy it thoroughly.

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