When it comes to your new home: Inspect before you accept
In between the sobering financial commitment you made and the giddy excitement of crossing the threshold of your newly constructed home for the first time there are a few very important hours called the Pre-Delivery Inspection or PDI. Granted, you’ve likely been so gripped by restless anticipation in the weeks or months since making the decision to buy your new home that you can’t think of anything else but being in it. But try hard to interrupt that thinking just a little. In fact, the long-term happiness and satisfaction with your new dream home may well depend on it. Since the PDI is such an important step in the new home buying process, we want to shine some light on what it means and why it’s so important.
Carefully walk through and around your house and check for unfinished, defective or damaged materials.
So what is a Pre-Delivery Inspection?
A PDI is your chance to tour your ‘finished’ condo unit or house for the first time. If you noticed the quotation marks around the word ‘finished’ you will be excellent at the PDI. This is where an eye for detail matters. Carefully walk through and around your house and check for unfinished, defective or damaged materials. Does the state of your walls suggest the painter was learning to ‘paint’ or worse yet ‘frame’? Are there gouges in the hardwood floor? Does the air conditioner still need to be installed? And don’t forget to walk around the exterior of the home as well. Keep in mind of course that while your home may be ready for you to move into, it may not necessarily be 100% finished. For example, in a condominium the common elements may not be complete. In a home, it may be January and impossible to lay sod. The purpose of the PDI is to check for defects and unfinished work. Whenever you notice something that needs further attention, your builder’s representative will write it down on the PDI Form. Hang on to a copy of this form because it becomes the formal record of your home’s condition before you moved into it.
Our PDI expert shares his best tips
Bob Thoburn is our resident expert on Pre-Delivery Inspections. Here are his top tips for anyone getting ready to do a PDI:
- Remember that it’s not just an inspection – it’s also an orientation. “Take advantage of this opportunity to learn about how to use and maintain parts of the home. Do you know how to set the thermostat? Do you know how and when to change your furnace filter? How can you keep your hardwood floor looking great? Ask your builder’s representative questions and make note of the information he/she gives you.”
- Don’t bring your friends and family along. “A builder once told me about a PDI where the young couple brought parents, grandparents, and siblings along. What should have been a quiet, orderly inspection descended into a circus of precious moments picture-taking and extended off-topic family conversations. Remember that this is your time for making sure everything is in order before you move in, so it needs your full concentration.”
- Make sure you have enough time. “The most common complaint we get from new home buyers about their PDI is that they felt rushed. My personal rule of thumb is that the PDI should take about an hour for every 1000 square feet, and this is something I communicate to builders all the time. It’s best to set time expectations when scheduling your inspection.”
- Focus on missing and damaged items. “Don’t waste valuable PDI time by visualizing where you’ll hang your pictures or where your furniture will go. It is a better use of time to focus on the condition of your new home and remember, you can print off Tarion’s PDI Checklist to keep you on track.”
- Pay special attention to hard surfaces. “If there are any defects in things like ceramic tiles or granite counter tops, be sure to catch them now. If you wait, you might have a hard time proving they existed before you moved in. Also, if the condition of the floors are hard to assess because they are covered with paper or dust, this should be noted on the PDI Form.
- Take pictures. “I always recommend that homeowners take pictures of anything that is damaged or missing. These photos can serve as a record later on if you make a warranty claim.”
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Tips for using Tarion
- Filling out a Pre-Delivery Inspection checklist before you take possession of your home is a critical step to ensure issues are resolved before you move in.