Nothing’s more exciting than receiving news that your new house keys are ready for handover and you can move into your dream home anytime. It’s an ecstatic feeling knowing that those keys are almost yours but you still need to play it cool because you’ll need to do a final inspection before a handover.
With the inspection and a thorough walk-through of all the rooms, imperfections are easily spotted and you can identify any compliance and building issues that you see rather than confronting your real estate agent or builder and having to deal with the mess when they do the job AFTER you move in.
Why is the pre handover final inspection important?
You’ve already invested your time and money on a new property, so everything needs to be perfect when you finally step in and call the place your home.
Pre-handover inspection is your last chance to ensure that your property is built according to plan, fire safety and other types of compliance are met, and waterproofing is installed properly, to name a few.
It’s also the perfect opportunity that all finishing touches are done exactly how you want them to be. Any imperfections, like gaps on your kitchen bench or wobbly curtain rails, would need to be pointed out so they can fix it before the official handover.
In the case of an established home, it is your final check before settlement and getting the keys. It is usually done a week before you get the keys so the seller has time to fix things up. You will check and make sure everything is in the same condition as when you put the offer on the home. This is called a pre-settlement inspection.
What to check on final inspection before settlement?
If you’re a first-time homeowner, it’s perfectly normal to get the jitters because you’re unsure what to do next. To make your life easier, we’ve put together a short inspection list to keep with you.
- Start with the floors, walls and ceilings
First things first. Inspect the walls, floors and ceilings of your new home. To get a better feel of the floor surface, take off shoes and walk around so it’s easier to inspect polishing and to feel for bumps on the carpeting or loose fitting on the edges. If you have linoleum or hardwood flooring, make sure that there are no scuffmarks.
Look around and check the ceiling mouldings for any protruding nail heads. Not only is that not pleasing to look at, but it can also be a potential risk if left unattended. You also need to carefully inspect tiled floorings for chips and cracks, and if there’s any grout missing.
- Inspect every corner and angle
Scanning through rooms is not enough. During inspection, you need to take your time to take in all the details and spot any imperfection there is. Sometimes they won’t be noticeable at first but if you have a careful look, that’s when you’ll see them, if there are any. Get a chair and stand on it so you can have a close-up look of the ceiling and see the corners at a better view point.
- Check the plumbing and taps
Check all your taps to see if they turn on and off without any issues. Keep them running for five minutes and if you have a tub, fill it with water and drain after to check for fixture or drainage leaks.
Flush the toilets and check for any leaks on the base because surely you wouldn’t want to be surprised one day with nasty leaks that are stressful to deal with. Is the air conditioner the correct size for the room and in working condition?
While you’re at it, better check the countertops as well for any unattractive abrasions and scratches. Cabinets should have a smooth finish, with hinges working well and quiet. Same with the drawers, which you should be able to pull in and out without any issues.
If there are any appliances that came with your plan, make sure that you also test them for functionality.
- Check wiring and power points
Each light fixture should be installed securely and with no cracks or broken parts. Test each light switch by turning it on and making sure lights are working correctly. If you can, bring a small appliance with you that you can plug into the outlets to test. One with an indicator light is a smart idea because you’ll quickly know if the socket is working or not.
If there’s a doorbell installed, you need to check that one as well. If you’ve paid extra for CCTV and they’ve installed it prior to moving in, it’s worth checking as well if you’re happy with the scope of the CCTV view, if you want the angle adjusted, or if there are any electrical connection issues that need to be sorted out.
- Doors, screens, windows and gates
Inspecting doors, windows, and screens are easy. Open and close them to ensure they’re working smoothly and they can be opened and shut without scraping or squeaking noises. Make sure that glass doors have no cracks at all.
For windows, it’s important to check for air leaks around the edges. Open them to their fullest to check for functionality and then use a lit matchstick or lighter to check for air leaks when they’re fully closed. If there are screens installed, make sure that you also inspect them for tears and holes.
Tips for your final inspection before settlement checklist
Having a checklist is just one thing to make your pre-handover inspection a breeze. But there are more things that you can do to even make it easier.
Write everything down
You can use our downloadable checklist to use as your guideline inspection. Don’t just rely on your builder to provide you with a list of what to check and what you want to get fixed. If you find any issues, make sure that you write it down and present it to your builder for rectification.
Take your time inspecting
A new home is a big investment so make sure that you take your time inspecting and walking through all the rooms. There’s no need to feel rushed and pressured that you need to finish it within a certain amount of time.
The builder or seller will need enough time between the inspection and the closing date for them to correct any issues identified during the inspection. If you can, schedule it at least a week before so that not only can you take your time for the walk through, but your builder won’t also need to rush the job and compromise its quality.
Insist that issues need to be fixed
You’re the buyer and you need to make sure you’re getting the value for your money. If you find anything that needs to be fixed, insist that the builder needs to fix it before the moving in date. Otherwise, it won’t be considered a priority or an urgent job once the keys are handed over.
Please click the button below to download a free PDF final inspection checklist.
Final Inspection Checklist Downloads: