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Inspecting your new home before it’s your home, the pre-delivery inspection

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Inspecting your new home before it’s your home, the pre-delivery inspection

When you buy a new car, one of the last steps before you drive it off the lot involves the salesperson showing you all the features of your vehicle and how they work. It’s the same with a new home. Before you get the keys, you and your builder will do a Pre-Delivery Inspection or PDI. This is an important step – not only does it familiarize you with your new home but it also helps you protect your warranty rights.

The PDI usually takes place a week or two before closing and involves a formal walk-through of the finished home with your builder. During this inspection, any defects, missing or non-functional items need to be noted on a PDI form. This form serves as a record of the state of the home when it was turned over.

Keep in mind however that this is not a warranty form.

Once you take possession, any issues that your builder has not resolved from your PDI – or any new issues that you’ve identified in your first month of ownership – should be recorded on a 30-Day warranty form and submitted to Tarion.

By far, the most common defects we see reported on the 30-Day forms are what are called ‘fit and finish’ issues. That can include scratches or scuffs on cabinetry or floors, cracked millwork, poorly-applied paint or uneven floor tiles.

These are all issues that can – and should – be identified during the PDI. If for example, you report gouges in your hardwood on your 30-Day form but it wasn’t on your PDI form, it may be hard to prove that they existed before you moved in. So here are a few tips to help you with your PDI:

  • Open and close all windows to be sure the latches work, screens are in place and windows slide freely on their tracks.
  • Make sure all doors are painted and that their locks work properly.
  • Look at the walls in each room to make sure there are no nail pops or visible seams. Check out the baseboard and woodwork around the doors to see if there are gaps that still need to be filled with caulking. Do all the light switches work? You should be checking each one. Check outlets with a small lamp or nightlight.
  • Test for squeaky floors as you walk around.
  • Check the bathtubs and sinks to make sure there are no scratches or chips.
  • Take photos of missing or damaged items. These will help with any future warranty claims.
  • If there’s construction debris, tarps or other things obstructing your view of areas of the home, it should be recorded on the form that you weren’t able to inspect that particular area.
  • Take your time, take a good look at everything and don’t let yourself be rushed. This is the time when a builder should be explaining how the appliances work, where you’ll find the water cut-off and how to operate your home’s mechanical and HVAC systems. We recommend that builders spend about one hour per 1,000 square feet on the PDI.

While your PDI is an opportunity to document the state of your home before you move in, once you take possession, your one-year, two-year and seven year warranties kick in. This warranty coverage is outlined in your Homeowner Information Package – something that your builder should provide you with either at the time of your PDI or when you receive the keys to your new home.

If they don’t, you can download a copy from tarion.com. If you have questions about the PDI or how to get the issues you may identify resolved, you can contact Tarion at 1.877.9TARION or email customerservice@tarion.com and our customer service team will be happy to help.

Howard Bogach is president and CEO of the Tarion Warranty Corp.


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