You’ve purchased your floor plans and dream piece of land, hired a stellar building crew, and made it to the long-awaited day when you can do the final walkthrough of your new construction. During a final walkthrough, you and your team, which can include the realtor, contractor, site manager, building inspector, loved ones — and hey, why not invite the architect too — inspect your home one last time before you hand over a paycheck and they hand over the proverbial keys.
As the name implies, it is the last step before the deal is sealed and you finally get to call it home. However, our idea of a great final walkthrough looks a little different from others. Rather than simply running through a surface-level checklist or looking for problems, we see it as a chance to step back and see the big picture, not just dinged fixtures or unfinished repairs (but those are important too). “The final walkthrough shouldn’t have you saying, ‘oh my God everything is wrong, there are so many issues!” says Adam, our Head of Operations at DEN.
As believers in the power of uncompromising quality and great design, we want to flip the script to help you envision a final walkthrough that isn’t about what went wrong, but a moment to celebrate what went right and how far you’ve come.
That means making an investment to hire the right professionals up front to avoid any major issues throughout the build — people you enjoy working with who will see it through until the very end. “My vision of building a home is that you need to build a team, and that needs to be a team of people who trust each other and can operate at a really high level,” says Adam.
If that sounds intimidating or unattainable, BuiltBy DEN is our full-service home building platform that provides a streamlined construction process and end-to-end project management to make home building as easy as home buying. BuiltBy DEN will also help you create that dream team, because after all, it takes a dream team to build a dream home.
The Most Important Things to Look For in a Final Walkthrough
With all of that in mind, there are three simple and fundamental things to check on during a final walkthrough that ensures you have a well-built home:
- Foundation: Make sure the building stands up and there is no settling, cracking, or unevenness
- Roof: An intact roof to keep you safe and dry
- Heating and cooling: Check to see if these systems work well so you’ll be comfortable in every season
Add these three things to the standard punch list of items that covers all the other necessities like opening windows and doors, checking outlets, and touring the property for damage, and you’ll leave feeling confident that this is a safe place to live.
What to Bring to a Final Walkthrough
When you’re walking through the house, bring your plan set along with you as a reference for everything that you and your builder agreed to include in your home. In a sense, this is your contract, or the agreement that was made between you and the build crew. As the homeowner, having the plans on hand will help you make sure you’re getting the final product you want, and are about to pay for! At this point, there will ideally already have been separate walkthroughs for different stages of the build, and this stage of the plans will essentially cover fixtures, finishes, and to generally ensure everything is where it’s supposed to be.
A good builder will help you understand those details, fix whatever is wrong or missing, and answer any questions.“If you’re building or buying a house, you need to understand it. Eventually you’re gonna be the one up at midnight who can’t figure out why the heater doesn’t work and the more knowledge you have the more useful it is,” says Adam.
If you don’t feel confident handling this process (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), consider hiring a professional to do it for you — BuiltBy DEN offers a unique concierge service that sets you up with a designated project manager who will see things through from start to finish, and yes, that includes the final walkthrough.
Besides your building plans, a few other helpful items to have on hand are:
- Tape measure
- Four-foot level (a two-foot level also works)
- Ladder, if you or someone else needs to access somewhere like a crawl space
You Can’t Do This Alone
In short, a final walkthrough is about more than crossing your fingers in hopes you can cross things off a checklist. At DEN, we are staunch believers that a well-built home means there is a through line of quality in every aspect of the building process from start to finish, from the materials to the members of your team.
Our best advice is to remember you can’t and shouldn’t do it all on your own. It’s important to have the right experts in your corner to help see the project through. At the end, when you’re finalizing everything, pause for a moment to take it all in to make this last, final step that much sweeter. “There are so many people who were a part of it”, says Adam. “Have some gratitude for all those who helped make this happen.”
The Ultimate Final Walkthrough Checklist
A final walkthrough should start with ensuring that you have a safe and well-built home and end with a celebratory moment to show gratitude to your team of home-building professionals, but there's no arguing it's helpful to run through that list before move-in day.
Here's our ultimate final walkthrough checklist for the new homeowner, and make sure to read our take on what a good final walkthrough really looks like.