There are benefits to purchasing a unit in a newly constructed building. You are moving into a never before lived-in apartment. However, you still need to carefully inspect the unit. You are bound to find issues that you will want taken care of prior to moving in, even if these are minor.

Therefore, we advise creating a “punch list,” or a list of things you want the sponsor to address and fix, ideally prior to closing. The sponsor is not legally obligated to fix these issues, providing the unit meets the building code, but most contracts contain language regarding punch lists, particularly when a large developer is involved.

Watch the language

Typically, sponsors only include “commercially reasonable” language in the contract. This is vague and makes it even more important that you create a punch list. Ideally, your entire list is completed to your satisfaction upon inspection when you do your final walk through.

Electrical

You do not have to be an electrician to check the electricity. You can easily check the receptacles by plugging a device in. The sponsor should have overseen sure the plates are on right and screwed in nice and tight. Similarly, you can check the ceilings fans and lights by flipping all the switches on and off. It may seem minor, but you should verify the switches and receptacles are the right color.

A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is an outlet that protects people from electrical shock. Typically, these are found in the kitchen and bathroom. There is a test and reset button built-in, making it easy to make sure it works.
Testing the telephone jack requires you to bring your own phone. Similarly, you will need your own laptop to check the network jacks.

Plumbing

You should go around to each bathroom and flush the toilets. Turn on the faucets and check both the hot and cold water. You should do this in the kitchen and bathroom sinks, as well as the tub. This also lets you check the water pressure to see if it is to your liking.

Appliances

When you are taking your tour and making your list, use this opportunity to flip the appliances on and off. This includes the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer. Try the oven, too.

Do not forget the refrigerator. You want to make sure the freezer works, and along with all the items that come with it, such as an ice cube maker, and any fancy bells and whistles.

A/C and Heat

You do not necessarily think about one of these items in a particular season. But, try out the entire HVAC system. You can see that both the heat and air conditioning work, and how long it takes for each to come on.

A Tour

Before you walk into your apartment, check the common area to make sure everything is in the right order, and then ring your doorbell to make sure it works. Then, in your walk around the unit, you should check that everything is in good working order and in the proper condition. Cracked windows are obvious to see, but it should open and close easily, and lock. The windows also need to be properly sealed. The wood floors should not have scratches while the carpets are stain-free. You can also visually check that moldings and trim are where it is supposed to be, and it looks right. The tiled floors should not have any scratches or other blemishes.

You should ensure you are happy with the paint job checking for nicks, scratches, and a bad finish, but do not forget to look in hidden places, including closets. Beyond the paint job, the walls should not contain any dents.
Open and close the doors to ensure you can do so easily, and watch for “stickiness.” This includes the front door, which you should make sure locks and unlocks properly.

The cabinets and countertops need checking. Not only should these function properly, but you need to ensure there are not damaged in any way. Certain materials look nice but are known for scratching easily. Also inspect closely for any chops or cracks, which might’ve happened during installation. It is an easy fix, but the cabinet hardware should not only be present but installed properly, which you can tell through opening and closing.

The sponsor might have promised various options, such as a garbage disposal, alarm, and intercom. If your unit comes with a fireplace, start it up.

Make your list

You can make your list with a pen and paper, or print and use ours below. The important thing is to document it and not try to remember it for future reference.

It is easy for these items to get misplaced since you likely will not see the contractors, but you want the instruction manuals and warranties. The sponsor should account for all of the unit’s keys.

Punch List

Electrical

  • Receptacles: You can easily check the receptacles by plugging a device in.
  • Switches and receptacles: See that these are the right color.
  • Plates are on right and screwed in nice and tight.
  • Ceilings fans & lights: Flip all the switches on and off.
  • Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI): There is a test and reset button built-in, making it easy to make sure it works. This an outlet that protects people from an electrical shock that are typically found in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Network jacks: You will need your own laptop to check the network jacks.

Plumbing

  • Toilets: Go around to each bathroom and flush the toilets.
  • Faucets: Turn these on and off, checking both the hot and cold water. Simultaneously, you check the water pressure to see if it is to your liking.

Appliances

  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator: Try out the freezer, ice cube maker, and any fancy bells and whistles..

A/C and Heat

You do not necessarily think about one of these items in a particular season. But, try out the entire HVAC system. You can see that both the heat and air conditioning work, and how long it takes for each to come on.

  • Heat
  • Air conditioning

Common Area

  • Doorbell: Ring to make sure it works
  • Windows: Check for cracks and that it opens and closes easily, as well as locks properly. Inspect that it sealed properly and that there are no drafts.
  • Wooden floors: Check for scratches and damage
  • Carpets: Stain-free, installed properly
  • Molding and trim
  • Tiled floors: These should not have any scratches or other blemishes
  • Paint: Look for nicks, scratches, and a bad finish
  • Walls: No dents
  • Doors: All doors should open and close easily, and the lock should work properly.
  • Cabinets: Check for damage. Also, make sure the hardware is attached.
  • Countertops: Looks for scratches and cracks.
  • Other options: These might include the garbage disposal, alarm, intercom, and fireplace.
  • Keys: The sponsor should account for all of the unit’s keys
  • Instruction manuals and warranties

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