Its been years, and that condo unit you bought at the pre-selling stage is finally ready! Your agent is telling you that all that’s left is to accept the unit and you’re ready to move in.
What they might be glossing over is that you have to accept things as they are first.
There’s actually one more thing you have to do before signing off on the turn over –
The Punch List
You get another chance to look over the property before signing off and taking it on. Take the opportunity to look around. Examine how things have been built. Make a punchlist of everything that you see that doesn’t look professionally finished, needs cleaning, or doesn’t fit feel like it fits what’s been promised.
Any space takes a while to process. If you’re not used to punch listing, the temptation is to fixate on the big space and jump straight into projecting yourself into it. Getting an objective view may difficult but absolutely necessary.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A professional would be best. Architects and interior designers have honed their senses for just such a purpose. But any objective eye would be better than just doing it by yourself.
Take the big picture in but start to focus in on the details. Be critical and meticulous. Don’t hesitate to get up close to something. Run your hands over ledges and under edges. Turn on the lights, run the taps, open and close every door and window. List down each item you have concern over. Note down its location, add a description, and take supporting photos.
Organize your notes for coordination with your agent or turn over liason. With any luck there might still be room to fix things before you have to move in. Use this list to come back and check on the items after you’ve to an agreement on the work that has to be done.
The most wanted list
When looking over your space, consider the following criteria for your critique:
- What’s a hazard to safety and can lead to accidents or injury?
- What’s missing or incomplete?
- What’s broken and needs to be repaired or replaced?
- What should be aligned, straight, smooth, or otherwise professionally finished?
- How are the drains and slopes and what might cause water damage over time?
- What needs dusting, cleaning, refinishing?
Being critical means having a reason to complain. You can’t just not like something and wish it were something else. Often times though, not liking something means we just haven’t been able to verbalize what bothers us. So take the time and figure out of its something critical that has to be addressed.
Depending on the gravity and scale of the shortcomings, not everything listed will be actionable. Discuss with your agent what can be done within reason. Others might be limited by contractor ability, material realities, and budget constraints. (Cheaper condos don’t only mean smaller rooms, but also that you can expect less from the contractors taken on to build them.)
At the end of the day anything built will always have imperfections. You’ll be happier expecting and accepting this fact from the start. Anything left will be a quirk you’ll have to learn to live with. At least you’ll know you’ll have tried to fix what you can.
It’s good to get the most for your money. At the end of the day though, all you really need is a shelter that’s safe and dry, to lay the foundations for your future. It’s the happiness that makes a home and not the other way around.
Have your own examples of little things you wish you could have noticed sooner and that you’d want to share with the class?
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