Keeping up with the progress on your new home build is not only exciting, it’s critical. Scheduling visits to your home site can help build rapport with your construction team, provide you with insight into features and fixtures and ensure that your dream home will meet your expectations. At what point, though, do visits become more of a chore than an enjoyable and productive experience?
Some homeowners begin the process with a gusto that fuels an ambitious goal of visiting their home site at least once per day, which may be a tad unrealistic between long days at work and life responsibilities. Spreading out site visits allows you to better see the progress being made over time. This is what gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with the whole experience. If you visit every day, you may not get that same sense of progress.
On the other hand, there are buyers who never visit the construction site. This poses a different set of issues as builders struggle to make decisions on the technical side without direct and open communication with the buyer. Maintaining a good relationship with your construction manager is key to a successful home build.
If you are struggling to make as many site visits as you would like, ask your sales team about any possible alternatives to visiting in person that can allow your communication lines to remain open, such as a virtual visit or any online services to check progress on your build.
However, nothing can truly take the place of in-person visits to your site. A happy medium for most home buyers is between once per week and once per month. However, if your schedule is not permitting, we’ve outlined the three most crucial times to visit.
The Framing Walkthrough
In the earlier stages of the build, between the time that the frame goes up and the mechanical installation is underway, it is typical for a buyer to schedule a framing walkthrough with an electrician and the builder to confirm the selected options and progress so far. Since this may be the first time a new homeowner gets to see their dream home begin to come to life, it can be a very exciting experience.
For the framing walkthrough, you should bring a prepared list of questions and copies of building plans and floor layouts to compare. As you walk through the house, envision your ideal furniture placement to help guide your preferences on the location of outlets. While you’re at it, get a feel for light switch placement as you enter each room. Find what feels natural to you and take notes.
Make a list of the electrical features that you would like to see in your new home, organized by room, to bring with you to the framing walkthrough. You’ll be able to give a thorough summary and provide copies after the meeting for follow-up. Be sure to bring as many details as necessary and be flexible if the code or your budget requires you to make adjustments to the rough plan.
The Pre-Drywall Walkthrough
After the electrical wiring has been set up and rough plumbing is installed, it is customary to schedule another walkthrough before the drywall goes up. This allows the builder to confirm all requested features as agreed on in the purchase agreement. Additionally, it allows the builder to provide the homeowner with a deeper insight into how the home functions.
When attending a pre-drywall walkthrough, it’s important to listen carefully and write down any notes about maintenance schedules, warranties and safety precautions. Take photos of all electrical wiring and plumbing mechanisms before the drywall covers up these installations. These pictures will come in handy in the future when you experience a leak or need to explain a wiring issue with an electrician.
The pre-drywall walkthrough is extremely important for homeowners because it is the last chance for new options to be added and for most changes to be made. Once the drywall is up, it becomes a challenge to move any outlets or reset any fixtures.
The Pre-Closing Walkthrough
After the drywall goes up, cabinetry is installed, flooring is completed and the house is almost a home. Now, it is time for a pre-closing walkthrough. Consider this a meeting to discuss any “final touches” prior to the final walkthrough.
In the pre-closing walkthrough, the construction manager will take time to go through each room with you, confirming that all requested features have been added and every system is in working condition. The construction manager will also discuss the electrical features, plumbing systems, HVAC, appliances and lighting. They will share important information regarding warranties and regularly scheduled maintenance.
You should take note of any items that need to be rectified, such as dented cabinetry, malfunctioning appliances or chipped paint. These concerns should be shared with the construction manager and the sales team member, if present. Be sure not to rush this walkthrough and take all the time that you need to ensure that your dream home is everything that you requested.
Things to Keep in Mind
No matter if you visit the minimum of three times or you make a weekly trip, there are several important things to remember.
Book in Advance
Construction teams are extremely busy during the day and need ample time to prepare for any visits. Any drop-in visitor who comes to the site unannounced puts themselves and the construction team at a safety risk and may slow the progress of your home build.
Be sure to book well in advance if you plan to visit your home site and be respectful of any scheduling block that may be unavailable to visitors. These precautions are in place to ensure everyone’s safety and to support the timeline for completion of your new home.
Follow Safety Protocols
In addition to advance booking, be courteous to your construction manager and respect all safety protocols that are in effect at your home site. When you visit, dress for a construction area in clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty, wear protective gear if asked to do so and always wear closed-toe shoes.
Be aware of your surroundings and do not touch anything that may be in progress. If you are curious about something, just ask. Do not attempt to handle any equipment or assist with the completion of any projects while unsupervised.
Take Several Trips Around the Clock
If you want to make several trips to your home site during the week, why not drive up the block and view the site from your vehicle? This can also help you get a feel for the neighborhood by just driving through.
Some homeowners have found it helpful to schedule drives to the home site at different times of the day and night, and on different days of the week. Your street may seem quiet on a Tuesday afternoon, but it may have a whole different feel on a Friday night or a Sunday morning. Drive around and get used to the sights and sounds of the neighborhood to envision your life after move-in day.
While you are checking out your new home from your driveway, consider adapting a modified daily routine to get a feel for your new day-to-day. Try taking your new commute and timing yourself to get to work. Find the route to the nearest grocery store, post office or your kids’ school. Find a rhythm that makes you feel at home.
Enjoy the Experience
The process of building a new home can be long and time-consuming, and while it requires a strong dose of patience, the end result is incredibly rewarding. The urge to visit your home site every day can be tempting, but I encourage you to enjoy this time by spreading out your visits. You’ll find yourself more than impressed at the progress every time you do visit, and before you know it, you will be settling into your dream home.
Melanie Theriault is a writer, counselor, and lifelong learner. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Southwestern University, where she discovered her passion for fostering human connection through storytelling.