WGN-TV Show Notes — June 18, 2002

WGN’s Money Saving Expert Ilyce Glink answers viewer mail.

Question: This is from J Golden: “I’m having trouble finding a detailed new home punch list. Can you recommend where I can find such a list?”

Answer: I think you may be a little confused. A punch list is an itemized account of stuff that the builder hasn’t finished in your new home at the time of closing. It’s different for everyone. For example, your punch list might include landscaping, touch-up painting, a missing cabinet door in the kitchen, a light fixture, and a crack in the ceiling. But someone else could have a completely different set of things wrong in their new home. Here are some things to know about punch lists:

First, before your closing, walk through your house and jot down anything that needs fixing or tinkering before closing. Your punch list must be in writing, preferably typed. The list should become part of your closing documents, and the developer must agree to fix them within a certain period of time. Finally, if there are any significant items that need to be fixed, like you’re missing your landscaping, or your deck or patio hasn’t been finished, or the roof has to be fixed, hold back enough money in an escrow account to hire someone else to fix the problems.

If the developer balks at holding back cash, warning bells should go off. You may have trouble getting this developer to come back to fix items on the punch list. Talk to your attorney about what you can do because once you pay for the home and close, you lose all of the leverage you have to get the developer to come back and fix things that go wrong with your home.

June 18, 2002.