Home Improvement

RL Tips: The Punch List for your First Home

Save yourself from unwanted surprises before the “big move”


Moving into your first home is a milestone. May it be a single detached house, a condo unit or a townhouse – we’re sure that you’ll want the most out of your hard-earned money. After the excitement of moving in, you might begin to see minor oversights such as peeling paint, sagging doors, hollow tiles, and faucet leaks, to name a few. Keep in mind that these problems can be prevented through a proper final inspection.

As a homeowner, you are encouraged to be involved in checking the quality of your home. This doesn’t mean that you have to be at the site every day but being familiar with basic technical knowledge is a must. This will help you understand what your designer or contractor are referring to.

One of the crucial phases in a project is the turnover which involves the final inspection or what we commonly call as “punch listing.” It is a method of crosschecking the existing conditions of a newly turned over unit or project versus what was proposed or agreed on in the contract.

Below is the first part of a basic punch list for final inspection that you may find helpful. Remember, the more intricate the details, the more you have on your list, and when in doubt, always consult with your designer and/or contractor.

What you need:

  1. Your designer or contractor plus any one of the following: electrician, carpenter, plumber
  2. A camera (to document your remarks visually)
  3. Steel tape/ measuring tape (commonly known as “metro”)
  4. A copy of the floor plan (may be requested from the building/ village administration or  your designer)
  5. A copy of the existing electrical plan
  6. Tools such as leveling tool, electrical tester, plumb bob (courtesy of your electrician/ carpenter)

How to go around:

  1. Allocate at least one whole day to go over your entire home.
  2. Navigate per area starting from the main entryway.
  3. Start from testing the general utilities: your circuit breaker and main water supply.
  4. Proceed to the quality of finishes, its installation and conformance to standards.
  5. Inspect and examine installed items if they are working properly.
  6. Check the overall cleanliness of the site.

Create your checklist.

*Photo by www.stockmonkeys.com

Create four columns on a piece of paper. Label it as follows:

  • First column - Item to be checked
  • Second column - Acceptable
  • Third column - Not acceptable
  • Fourth column - Comments/Person responsible for repair

After the inspection, you'll be able to identify which areas or items need to be repaired and if you have additional comments.

Items that you need to check:

I. Utilities

Main circuit breaker

  • Is it properly labeled?
  • Do the labels coincide with the switches?
  • Are all the switches in your circuit breaker working?
  • Is it located in an place accessible to all members of the family?

Main water gate valve

  • Check water supply
  • Is there a shut off valve installed at water connections in different parts of the house? (bathroom, kitchen, laundry, etc)


II. Doors

Knob and lock

  • Is it easily operable? (Does not get stuck)
  • Is it made of a durable material? (does not easily rust?)
  • Does it lock properly?

* Knob height must be a standard of 90cm

Door closer

  • Does it work properly?


  • Is it properly aligned?
  • Clear?
  • Standard eye level height?

Door alignment

  • Can it be opened and closed without having to exert extra effort to push or pull?
  • Does it close tightly?

Door hinges

  • Do all hinges have their screws?
  • Are they free from rust or any sign of deterioration?
  • Are they properly installed/ aligned?

Door material

  • Quality of door, preferably solid
  • Is the wood kiln-dried?
  • Check for material defects such as warping, holes
  • Check for termite or wood bug damage
  • Check for cracks

Door finish

  • Paint finish must be smooth and free from bubbles
  • Varnish must be free from dust that has settled due to drying time
  • Check for any dents, scratches, chipping or peeling

Stay tuned for the second part of our punch list tomorrow!

Geraldine Verga is a licensed interior designer specializing in residential projects. She was formerly a project consultant for a real estate company and now a part of the faculty of the Philippine School of Interior Design teaching Professional Practice & Ethics and Business of Interior Design.


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