- Check drainage. Does rain water flow away from the home? Are there any standing puddles? Do window wells drain properly? Do downspouts have splash blocks?
- Any loose or flapping roof shingles, loose siding, trim or shutters? Are railings solid?
- Are roof vents or exhausts obstructed?
- Are vents, power and A/C line intrusions in the siding weather sealed?
- Any chips or gaps in brick, stone trim, sidewalks or driveway? Are there any cracks (more
- than 1/8 inch) in the foundation?
- Did the builder follow your prescribed landscape plan?
Windows and Doors
- Check all doors, windows and locks (including sliding doors, garage door and shower doors). Do they work smoothly? Any broken glass, missing or ripped screens? Any condensation inside double-paned windows (a sign of a broken seal)?
- Are they all weatherstripped and caulked?
- Do all the door styles match?
Walls, Ceilings and Floors
- Check that all appliances (don’t forget the garbage disposal and range hood fan and light), plumbing fixtures, tubs and showers (including any whirlpool/spa tubs) work properly. Are they the models/styles/color you ordered? Any scratches or scuffs? Are fixtures properly caulked?
- Check cabinets, countertops and mirrors for marks or scratches. Do cabinet hinges and drawer slides work properly? Are the doors aligned? Are the cabinet accessories and hardware what you ordered?
- Use a plug-tester to see that all electrical outlets and GFCI receptacles are live. Check that all electronic items work, including interior and exterior lights, TV and phone jacks, exhaust fans, ceiling fans, security or intercom system, doorbell and garage door opener.
- Test the furnace, air conditioner and water heater.
- Does the fireplace gas line, fan, damper and draft work?
- Are all switch plates straight and in same color?
Basement and Attic
- Any cracks (larger than hairline size) or signs of leaks in the foundation?
- Are stair handrails solid and secure?
- Is attic insulation properly installed?
Patricia L. Garcia is an award-winning freelance journalist who has written for NewHomeSource, the Associated Press, New Mexico magazine and the Texas Bar Journal. When not writing, she can be found in the garden, battling weeds and high-desert heat.